Letter to the Editor, Edmonton Journal, January 30 2015:
I would like to respond to the allegations made by other educators in the Journal article (“Home schooling loophole leaves some Alberta kids uneducated, critics say”, January 29 2015).
I’ll start with a clarification: when it is mentioned that home education students qualify for $1641 in funding, it should be noted that families have access to only half of that for reimbursement of educational supplies and the other half is retained by the school authority to pay for supervision of those families.
There is full accountability.
I should also note that this amount is a pittance when compared to the money spent on public education where school boards receive approximately $10,000 (yes, that’s 10 thousand dollars) per student!
You see, home education saves the Alberta government - and Alberta taxpayers - millions of dollars, but public school administrators want that money.
That’s what this is all about.
Research has shown that students are well educated whether the education is received through home education or through instruction at a congregate site:
- a large body of research shows that home educated students consistently score 15 to 30% higher on standardized tests than the average institutional learning child.
- research on Alberta congregate sites indicates student achievement is at or above grade level according to the Canadian Test of Basic Skills.
This is not anecdotal information.
AHEA has provided this research to previous Education Ministers and we are providing it again to current Minister Gordon Dirks.
We have also provided the same information to Superintendent David Steele and to the Alberta Teacher’s Association.
In fact, Mr. Steele has received confirmation from Alberta Education staff that our information is correct and further, Jeff Johnson, when he was Education Minister, did an investigation of congregate sites and found that the students there were receiving a good education.
I could cite much more research but it seems plain that those with a financial incentive choose selective deafness instead of hearing the facts.
There is no ‘loophole’ that needs to be closed here.
Paul van den Bosch
Alberta Home Education Association