Deep concern about the educational value of the series The Story of Us
Calls for more information in order to be faithful to the story of “Us”

April 26, 2017

New update!

Last April, CTF joined the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones (FNCSF) (National Federation of Francophone School Boards) in notifying the CBC ombudsman of our deep concerns about the educational value of the CBC series “The Story of Us’. In our joint news release we recommended that educators refrain from using the series unless the CBC makes changes to avoid exposing students to an incomplete and distorted history of our country.

The CBC contacted us immediately to meet and discuss ways to move forward. We welcomed this opportunity to share our concerns at the June 29 meeting at the CTF office in Ottawa. At the end of our meeting, we agreed to work together in the review of the teachers’ guide tied to the 10-part television series. The 73-page teacher’s guide, now available on the CBC Curio platform, is a vehicle for inquiry-based learning, and offers valuable ideas for developing students’ critical thinking skills, for various media literacy activities and more. One of the guide’s objective is:

……To address several key aspects of the series that were criticized — specifically to explore pre-colonial Indigenous history, early settlements and the history of Acadians in what would become Canada….

Educators can use the series episodes in conjunction with the guide and the Facebook Live events:
https://curio.ca/en/collection/canada-the-story-of-us-plus-roundtable-discussions-2514/

(Please note: the resource is only available in English)

Ottawa – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) has joined the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones (FNCSF) (National Federation of Francophone School Boards) in notifying the CBC ombudsman of their deep concern about the educational value of the series The Story of Us.

“We are concerned that the CBC wishes to give the series exposure in elementary and secondary schools across Canada via its Curio platform,” says CTF President Heather Smith. “Our organizations are unable to vouch for the educational value of the series in its existing form,” she adds.

The two organizations believe that because of its historical omissions, for example the deportation of the Acadians, its less than flattering depictions of emblematic Francophone figures from the history of Canada and the near-absence of comments by Francophones, this series offers an Anglo-centred version of the story that is far from being a shared or inclusive one.

They will therefore be recommending that their members refrain from using the series unless the CBC makes changes to avoid exposing students to an incomplete and distorted history of our country.

Echoing a recent suggestion by the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada), the CTF and the FNCSF point out that interviews with Acadian and Francophone leaders and historians could be incorporated into the material for distribution to schools.

“If the series’ primary target audience is the English-speaking public, as the CBC has indicated, it is essential that English-speaking Canadian elementary and secondary school students have access to an account that gives appropriate prominence to Francophones and Acadians without taking liberties with history,” says FNCSF President Melinda Chartrand.

Founded in 1920, the CTF is a national alliance of provincial and territorial Member organizations that represent nearly 232,000 teachers across Canada. CTF is also a member of the 32-million member Education International.

The FNCSF represents the 28 Francophone and Acadian school boards across Canada in minority situations. These entities provide educational services in French to 160,000 students attending nearly 650 educational institutions.

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Information:

Valérie Morand, Manager, Communications, FNCSF/RNDGE: 613-744-3443 or 613-327-2308 (cell) vmorand.fncsf@bellnet.ca

Francine Filion, Director of Communications, CTF: 613-688-4314 or 613-899-4247 (cell) ffili@ctf-fce.ca