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Political Updates

Visiting your MLA

Many people are contacting their MLAs and setting up meetings to discuss home education.

Meeting with your MLA is an excellent idea. MLAs are the individuals elected to serve you, so it is good for you to let them know the things that are important to you as a citizen of this province, and how they can serve you and the home educating community.

Some potential topics for discussion are:

- How home education has benefitted your family. Think about the things that work best for your child(ren) and how the specialized home education environment helps your child succeed.

- Discuss the importance of maintaining the freedom to home educate. You are the parent responsible for your child(ren), and as the parent, you make decisions for them. You have not relinquished your authority to do this, and maintain responsibility for the education of your child. Impress upon your MLA that you are the primary decision maker for your child, not the government or its agent (teachers).

- In official responses to recent questions about parental decision-making and choice in education, the government has stated only that it is committed to providing parents with financial support and to ensuring that parents receive their home education funding. There has been no recognition of the primary role that parents have in making choices about their children’s education. Recognition of their primary role by the government is the uppermost concern of many (if not most) home educators, and this role has not yet been acknowledged by the NDP government in the Legislature.

- Alberta has the most restrictive home education regulation in the country. Reduced regulation is recommended. You may want to request a notification only option, like that of Ontario, where parents simply tell the province that they are home educating and then they maintain the responsibility for the education of their children. This is consistent with parents being the primary decision makers for their children.

The following is a link to Ontario's Ministry of Education policy for home education. It outlines a procedure which could be a very good 'notification only' model. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/131.html

- Under the current regulation, it is important to have school authorities who specialize in home education. The private schools with specialized home education services offer the most expertise and specialized services to those who home educate. These must NOT be eliminated.

- Describe why your supervising authority is unique, and important to you.

- AHEA does not recommend advocating for more money. It is well known that increase scrutiny and regulation go hand in hand with receiving public money.

- You may want to provide your MLA with Home education research. The following are links to:

- Home Schooling in Canada: The current picture - 2015 Edition: The Fraser Institute https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/home-schooling-in-canada-2015-rev2.pdf

- Fifteen Years Later - Home-Educated Canadian Adults http://www.naturalchild.org/research/fifteen_years_later.pdf

- Home Education Rason and Research http://www.nheri.org/HERR.pdf

These are some ideas to assist you in your meeting with your MLA.

Patty Marler

Government Liaison for AHEA

Celebration of Home Education Rally

On Tuesday, November 29, AHEA hosted a Celebrate Home Education Rally at the provincial Legislature. The event was extremely successful, seeing 567 people coming to celebrate and stand for parental rights.

The rally featured several activities:

- discussion groups

- a choir

- ballroom dancing

- collection of food for the food bank

There were many MLAs in attendance, both from government and from opposition parties. There were many who mingled with and spoke to home educators and several of who made presentations at the rally:

- Jessica Littlewood -NDP

- Brian Jean -Wildrose

- Mark Smith -Shadow Education Minister for the Wildrose

- Ric McIver -PC

- Debbie Jabbour - NDP

In the afternoon sitting of the legislature, MLA Smith introduced AHEA's President, Paul van den Bosch, and Government Liaison, Patty Marler. During question period, opposition leader Brian Jean asked questions of the government in the legislature regarding the parental choice in education.

A summary of the event, as well as the questions asked and responses given in the legislature surrounding parental choice may be seen here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD7YGi7PQYg

http://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/hansards/han/legislature_29/session_2/20161129_1330_01_han.pdf

Patty Marler

Government Liaison

Alberta Home Education Association

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