Sprawlcast: Taking on racism in the classroom
Volunteers saw a need — so they filled it.
In the last Sprawlcast, I spoke with Jared Wesley about political culture in this province. Wesley is a University of Alberta political scientist who leads an initiative called the Common Ground project. One of the points Wesley made in our interview is that political culture is a story we tell ourselves about ourselves. And that story is conveyed in different ways—including through K to 12 curriculum.
Curriculum has been a political flashpoint in Alberta for some time. But it’s really ratcheted up with the province’s new K to 6 draft curriculum, which reflects the ideology of the Alberta government at this time—and is widely opposed by educators.
Against this backdrop, some Albertans have been working on another curriculum-related project. It’s called Culture Commons, and it’s an information hub for teachers who want to bring an anti-racist lens to the work they do in the classroom. So while this bigger struggle over curriculum in Alberta has been happening, a group of volunteers have been putting this project together, trying to make their own changes on a more grassroots level.
It’s not something that replaces the current curriculum so much as complements it.
The project is an example of Albertans seeing a need—and mobilizing to do something about it.
I spoke with Iman Bukhari and Michelle Casten Magbanua to find out more. Iman Bukhari is CEO of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, the non-profit organization that put this project together. And Michelle Casten Magbanua is a teacher and one of the volunteers who worked on the project.
Jeremy Klaszus is editor-in-chief of The Sprawl.