Political Updates

May 2016 Update

As of this writing, Alberta is experiencing a hot and dry spring.
Forest fires have caused the current evacuation of Fort McMurray and other areas are in danger.

We ask all Alberta home educators to join us in prayer for the protection and safety of all Albertans and for those fighting the fires.

AHEA would like to thank all Alberta home educators and parents for their quick and vocal response to the NDP amendment to the recent private member's motion moved by PC leader Ric McIver.

The original motion passed unanimously in the legislature on Monday.

Although this is good news – and the parental response noted earlier was even better news - it should be noted that the wording of the original motion ("allowing parents to choose") is not as strong as it could be.

Parents have the prior right to choose the education of their children, and that is not something "allowed" by government but something that is a God-given right.

On December 16th 2015 and again on March 28th 2016 (see Political Updates) AHEA informed its members that, in response to a plan by Alberta Education bureaucrats to impose standardized testing on home educated students, we made a strong statement to Minister Eggen that no new assessment was required.

The minister had indicated that he needed to report on the money being spent on home education.

His department wanted standardized testing. AHEA advised the minister that the information he needed was contained in the evaluations already being done by home educating parents with their facilitators.

Parents write the education plan for their children, and parents – usually on a daily basis – evaluate their children anecdotally: "my son/daughter is meeting expectations in this area, not quite meeting expectations in that area, and far exceeding expectations in these other areas".

Our proposal was simply to use this information – 'progress based on the plan', a concept discussed openly by all administrators and facilitators who attended the December Networks North meeting –from assessments already being done by parents and to which the Minister already has access, and organize it.

That was our statement to the Minister: "no new evaluation".

Despite misinformation being spread and confusion being sown to the contrary, that was our position then and remains our position today.

AHEA has not compromised on that nor would we ever.

Please keep an eye on this website for exciting news, coming soon, about speakers at our 2017 convention.

Blessings on all Alberta families.

Motion 504 passes in the Alberta Legislature

Alberta Legislature: May 2, 2016

Ric McIver's (PC) Motion 504 came before the legislature. Before debate on the motion began, Mr. Mason (ND) moved to remove the amendment made by MLA Luff (ND).

Motion 504 (in its original state) passed unanimously with a vote of 62 for, 0 against.

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the government to affirm its commitment to allowing parents the choice of educational delivery for their children, including home, charter, private, francophone, separate, or public education programs.

During debate, some interesting statements were made by members of various political parties (from Hansard - May 2 (pages 783-790)).

Mr. McIver (PC): "I thank the government for withdrawing their amendment. I think that is a victory today for Alberta children and parents. Sometimes, Madam Speaker, some of these people need to fight for what is right. I think this is a case where that happened...I have to say that there’s been an outpouring of support from parents across Alberta on this particular motion. It’s consistent with the United Nations charter, article 26, section (3), that reads: "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

Mr. Smith (WR): "I believe that we do need to get down to some basic principles, though, what we believe we want our society to be like. ...the value of freedom, the freedom to choose how we’re going to raise our kids, the value of freedom of religion, how we’re going to raise our families in the faith values that we choose to have. I believe that whatever education system we have, it needs to be surrounded and encompassed by a mature understanding of freedom, a freedom that allows us to be able to speak our conscience, to raise our family, to pursue our faith, but to do so within the context of a community.

Now, I guess that’s one of the things that I would – and I think maybe it’s quibbling here a little bit with your motion there, but you say: “allowing” parents. It’s “allowing parents the choice of educational delivery for their children.” I’m not sure that I would use that word only because I believe that it’s the parents’ choice, that it comes from the parents first and not from the state. But maybe that’s just quibbling."

Mr. Clark (AP): "I absolutely support parental choice in education, but I think perhaps we need to consider the level of funding for private schools in certain cases and look at some of the criteria for private schools.

"I will absolutely be voting in favour of Motion 504. I think parents and students deserve that choice in education, and I think it’s very important to say that choice in education does not need to diminish the availability or the quality of Alberta’s public education system."

Dr. Swann (AL): "The position of our caucus and our party has been that, ultimately, we want to move innovation and the essential supports for all young people and their families into the public system, incorporating the best of what’s there and ensuring that all students have access to at least the fundamentals, whether they’re disabled or whether they have specific learning problems, that those be part and parcel of our public system and that over time integrating back into the public system would allow them to have full public funding. That would be the incentive for them to return or, actually, not to return but, in some cases, to come into the public system. There would be a greater accessibility for some of these areas, there would be innovation, and it would be a win-win for both the public system and the choices issue, which I think we all value." (788)

Minister Eggen (ND): "That funding extends to all forms of education, using the envelopes and the mechanisms that we’ve had in place here in the province of Alberta for a long time. Every step of the way, you know, Mr. Speaker, it’s very important for people to know that they can invest in the education system into which they’ve put their children and have the security to know that it’s there for the future as well. I recognize that."

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