WESTLOCK – Two candidates, one trustee position, and one goal in mind – addressing the Government of Alberta’s new K-6 curriculum.
Philip Petkau and Maureen Schnirer, hopefuls for Pembina Hills School Division’s East Ward 1, are hoping to provide a local voice for concerns about the curriculum, which has received criticism from teachers, parents, and the Alberta Teacher’s Association who have called it “fatally flawed” and say it “lacks a clear vision and goal” in education.
Hoping to take the trustee position left by retiring incumbent Jackie Carson, Schnirer says the curriculum does not provide proper education to students.
“I think that the curriculum needs to be based on proven methods and collaborated on with teachers currently teaching and experienced professionals who are executing that curriculum. I think we need better collaboration on that before putting it into effect,” said Schnirer.
With two kids in the school system, she plans to shift the division's financial focus to benefit students and teachers.
“Schools should be a safe learning and teaching environment and I believe that the financial focus of Pembina Hills School Division should be on the children, getting them what they need to get a successful education.”
Having a passion for being involved and with a retired schoolteacher as her mother-in-law, Schnirer hopes to help the division and the community.
“We want to achieve the best education for our kids because education is what makes a community stronger. I think we can build a very strong and vibrant school division.”
Petkau echoes curriculum concerns
Being a there for parents is Petkau’s top priority. Even though he has not yet taken up the mantle of trustee, he has heard concerns from parents that involve the controversial curriculum.
“I do have some concerns of my own, like the new draft curriculum put together by the government recently. I’ve also heard a lot of concerns about that. It’s something that needs to be talked about because a lot of parents and teachers are talking about and are concerned,” said Petkau.
With two years of experience teaching at a private school in northern B.C. before moving to Alberta, Petkau aims to be an unbiased voice for the ward.
“I gather a lot of data before I talk. That’s a valuable skill I bring because I’ll be listening to various perspectives, then I need to sort through them and bring forward a well-rounded viewpoint.”
Having two kids in the system, he hopes to be a part of a proper education for all students at Eleanor Hall School in Clyde and Busby School.
“I think it’s in my best interest to stay connected and see what’s going on. I want to be a voice for parents, for other people in the community, and provide some input on what goes on,” said Petkau.