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Political Updates

Meeting with Minister Eggen

December 16, 2015

Representatives from the Alberta Home Education Association - President Paul van den Bosch and Government Liaison Patty Marler - met with Education Minister David Eggen on Tuesday, December 15.

AHEA presented evidence to show how home education is successful in many ways.

Patty Marler gave the Minister several printed reports, letters from home educators and universities, and information summaries.

The Minister responded that he knew that "home education works" and also that home education saves Alberta taxpayers a great deal of money.

The discussion was open, positive, and the Minister listened to the concerns brought forward.

Paul and Patty pointed out that, as always, AHEA advocates for parental rights and freedoms, for less legislation and regulation (including the possibility of "notification only" for home educating families), for "bureaucratic consistency" for administrators of home education, and for protection and support for Independent Contracted Home Education Specialists (ICHES).

The Minister indicated that no significant changes are planned to the Education Act (passed in 2012 but never declared law) or the Home Education Regulation.

The Minister did indicate he was concerned about being able to report on the progress of home educated students, and Paul and Patty provided him with suggestions on how that could be done.

The meeting concluded with a commitment from both parties to continue clear, open, and cooperative communication.

Potential Changes, and a Chance to Review

To all AHEA members and Alberta home educators:

With the recent change in our provincial government, all Albertans await possible legislative change on several fronts.
One of those may be in education.

For example, Education Minister Dave Eggen and his team are reviewing the Education Act (passed in 2012 but never declared law).
This review, and a similar review of the regulations that fall under the Education Act, may bring only slight modifications or may bring significant change.
AHEA representatives have a meeting scheduled with Minister Eggen in early October and we hope to get more information then.

In the meantime, another change to be expected is in communication with the team at Alberta Education.
Some of the bureaucrats within Alberta Education are new in their positions and so we - home educators and those who are the administrators of home education at schools and school boards - have new challenges ahead in communicating ‘what home education is all about’.

Since we can’t assume that interpretation and enforcement of regulations will be the same as it has in the past, it would be wise for all home educators and administrators to revisit what is required so that there is no opening for bureaucratic censure.
In other words, home educators already know that we do a terrific job in providing education to our children and we should do the same terrific job in our organization and paperwork.

For Alberta home educators, this starts with the paragraph at the end of the form that we all sign: the Notification Form.
That paragraph details what is required in an Education Program Plan.
It would be wise for all home educating families to make sure their plans contain all of the elements required.

Here’s that paragraph:

PART D -
If portions of the student program will enable the student to achieve the outcomes contained in the Schedule included in the Home Education Regulation, please attach according to this Form the required written description of the Home Education Program for a student who is following the Schedule of Learning Outcomes for Students Receiving Home Education Programs That Do Not Follow the Alberta Programs of Study:

  1. Describe in the home education program plan, the instructional method to be used, the activities planned for the program and how the instructional method and the activities will enable the student to achieve the learning outcomes contained in the Schedule.
  2. Identify the resource materials, if different from provincially authorized materials, to be used for instruction.
  3. Describe the methods and nature of the evaluation to be used to assess the student’s progress, the number of evaluations and how the evaluation addresses the learning outcomes in Question 1.
  4. Describe the associate board or associate private school facilities and services that the parent wishes to use.

Home educators provide a wonderful education for their children.
Examples of that are abundant and obvious and those who are interested in a better education for their children are attracted by our examples.
If we are also examples of organized planning then we make it easier for all to avoid any further bureaucratic intrusions.

Paul van den Bosch
President
Alberta Home Education Association

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