Iman Bukhari, founder and CEO of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation.

Sprawlcast: Taking on racism in the classroom

Volunteers saw a need — so they filled it.

Sprawlcast is a collaboration between The Sprawl and CJSW 90.9 FM. It's a show for curious Calgarians who want more than the daily news grind. Subscribe on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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.

Michelle Casten Magbanua, a teacher and one of the volunteers behind Culture Commons.

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.