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AHEA Convention 2016

Communication Liaison Report - AGM - April 9, 2016

It has been a busy year for AHEA. AHEA tries very hard to communicate with home educators via the AHEA website, Support Groups and Facebook.

Patty Marler and I spent an afternoon together in early March where we went through the website, page by page. We asked our Webmaster to move and update pages – to make items easier to find and to update the Website. Please take some time to check the AHEA website out and watch for new content.

The Support Groups List on the website has been updated in 2016, as well.

As the moderator of the AHEA Page on Facebook, I try really hard to keep it a positive, encouraging page for Home Educators. Part of AHEA’s purpose is to support and encourage Home Schooler’s in Alberta. The Facebook Page is about two years old and has close to 1500 members.

If you want to join (or know of someone) our Facebook Page, please watch for a private message from me. I check out every potential member before approving them. This is because in the past politicians, salesmen, reporters AND spammers have tried to join. AHEA wants their Facebook Page to be a safe and encouraging place for Home Educators.

After joining, I encourage everyone to read the Page Description (on the upper right hand side of the page) so that they are familiar with the Page Rules. The basic page rules are:

  • To post respectfully and thoughtfully
  • No Sale Posts. These will be removed without warning. These work better on the Support Group email lists or Facebook Pages for individual areas.
  • No advertising of events for specific areas as well. If everyone was to post for sale or advertising events, it would be hard for anyone to see the other posts. AHEA’s Facebook Page is a Provincial Page, with home educators from all over the Province. Posts need to reflect that fact.

The Page Description also has a reminder that AHEA supports Parent Directed Home Schooling in Alberta. Not every discussion about funding or home schooling in Alberta belongs on the AHEA page.

There is also a reminder that all links are not endorsed by the AHEA Board. There are many links that are Christian in nature, but there are also links that are secular. Click on the links that you wish to read.

At the very bottom of the Page Description, there is a link to the AHEA Pinterest Boards. Many of the links shared will end up on these Pinterest Boards, to help clean up the Facebook Page and to make it easier for home educators to find the links that have been shared. *The AHEA Pinterest Boards are NEW for 2016.

I do appreciate every Home Educator who post and comment positively and make this community a better place for everyone. Facebook was a new venture for AHEA two years ago, but has proven to be a great tool in getting political information out to Home Educators in Alberta, as well as encouraging and supporting Home Schooling parents.

Government Liaison Political Update - AGM - April 9, 2016

The Hand of God continues to be over home educators in Alberta, and it is truly by His grace and love that home education continues to flourish and grow.
 
In March, 2016, the Progressive Conservative Government voted in Bill 10, now An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children. Since then all school boards have had to create policies around gender identity. Private schools which oversee home education administrators have also been required to do so.
 
As a result, many people have become aware of the various agendas and ideological teachings present in Alberta's schools, many of which home educators have been aware of for years, even decades. Thus, the interest in home education has grown incredibly over the past year, with an anticipation of greatly increased numbers for the 2016/17 education year.
 
Another very recent trend has been for school at home programs to reduce or eliminate entirely their funding for school programs offered at home. It is very possible that home education under the Home Education Regulation could see a significant increase in numbers, due to parents experiencing the educational limitations of school programs being offered at home without the benefit of funding in excess of that required under the Home Education Regulation.
 
The change in government has meant that AHEA's President - Paul van den Bosch - and Government Liaison - Patty Marler - have again spent a considerable amount of time building positive working relationships. We have met with Education Minister Eggen and have been in communication with him a number of times.
 
The Education Act was pulled by Minister Eggen to review, and at this time it and all the regulations associated with it are under review. Minister Eggen has told AHEA that he is not looking to make any changes to the Home Education Regulation and AHEA expressed that we are happy with the regulation as it is as well. We suggested that should changes be made, AHEA would be in favour of less regulation for home educators and would recommend a 'Notify only' option. It is likely that Minister Eggen will make some changes to the Education Act to make it his own, and his party's own, but the extent of the changes are unknown, as is the time set for the tabling of any amendments to the Act in the Alberta Legislature. Brick and Mortar schools are eager to have the Education Act proclaimed, but it is up to the current government to set it's own timelines.
 
Alberta's Independent Contract Home Education Specialists (ICHES) - whom over 80% of Alberta's home educators notify with - continue to have challenges due to the ever changing policies and procedures within Alberta Education. While AHEA stands for Alberta's home educators, it is important to recognize the significant role that ICHES play in making Alberta a wonderful province in which to home educate. AHEA therefore, has a very strong working relationship with the ICHES, and we work to discern if and when issues that arise for ICHES are important for AHEA to become involved in. This past year, for example, AHEA has provided significant input into the post secondary education of home education students topic as well as several other areas. Much of the work we do is completed in a manner that strives to affect as much positive change as possible without making it necessary to involve individual home educators. AHEA recognizes the passion that home educators have for their children and their home education, and recognizes that parents are willing to advocate, write letters, meet their MLAs, etc. AHEA is thankful to have the strength of its grassroots membership ready to act when their home education is at risk in one way or another.
 
There continue to be challenges, with new ones cropping up frequently. AHEA tries to stay abreast of these, and we do appreciate it when people advise us of issues that arise. It is an honour to serve home educators, and your prayers for wisdom, discernment, and proper action are always appreciated.
 

Patty Marler

Government Liaison
Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA)

Financial 'Clawbacks'

To all Alberta home educators:

The auditors of Alberta Education - through their decisions on 'allowable funding' -  are continuing in their efforts to change the definitions of what home education is and what it isn't.

That defining of terms is the right of parents.

You may have heard news on financial 'clawbacks' from your school authority.

AHEA is aware of this situation and is working with these school authorities to protect parental rights and freedoms, including the parental right to decide what resources, methods, and activities will best achieve the educational outcomes chosen by each parent.

At this time, we would ask all home educating parents to stay in touch with their school authority for more detail and to monitor this website should political action be required.

Thank you.

Paul van den Bosch

President
Alberta Home Education Association

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