On April 18, 2016, PC Leader and MLA McIver made a motion speaking to parental choice in education. This original motion contains wording of concern. While the foundational principle of parental choice is supported by AHEA, the exact wording of Mr. McIver's motion leaves true parental freedom in question.
Motion 504: Mr. McIver: 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.
Concern 1: The first concern is with the phrase "allowing parents". This wording implies that the parent is not the one ultimately in charge of the child's education. It implies that someone else has the ultimate authority, and that it is this authority who 'allows' the parent to participate. This is completely backwards as it is the parent who is in charge of their children’s education, with the education system providing a service to parents and our children.
The government can only recognize a parent’s right to choose the type of education their children will receive; it does not allow or permit them to have that right.
Concern 2: The second concern is in the phrase 'educational delivery.' This implies that the only thing parents will have authority over is 'where and how' education is delivered, but that the 'what' of education is not under the authority of parents. If only the 'delivery' of education is an option, then the fundamental choice of determining 'what' is delivered is left to someone else.
Implications of the Motion: This motion implies that the parent is NOT the one in charge of educational decisions for their children. Are we going to accept that there is another who has more authority than parents for the education of our children?
Motion 504 Proposed AMENDMENT:
MLA (ND) Ms. Luff's proposed amendment to the motion: “Be it resolved that the legislative assembly urge the government to support public education including francophone and separate schools, while affirming its commitment to allowing parents the choice of education delivery for their children, including home, charter and private education programs in such instances where they offer alternatives not available in the public system.”
Amendment Concerns: In addition to the above noted problems in the original motion, there is an even more serious problem with the amendment: the wording 'in such instances where they offer alternatives not available in the public system' is a significant attack on parental choice. The amendment states that the government will only support education alternatives provided in home, charter or private education programs when they are not available in the public system. This would eliminate a parent's authority to choose the form of education that they feel is best for their children, and only allow for programming of a parent's choice when it is not available in the public realm. This is NOT a support for parental choice; rather it is a reduction in the choice and alternatives that parents have.
AHEA always encourages its members to let their MLAs know when there are issues of concern. It is important to have a good working relationship with MLAs.
Some questions to ask:
- Who does your MLA believe has the ultimate authority for the education of your children?
- Do they think the parent is the one responsible for their children's educational decisions, or that they are only 'allowed to participate'?
- Do they think your parental choice and authority are limited as is implied in the motion and the amendment?
Share with your MLA your thoughts on the education of your children, and that parents hold the ultimate authority and responsibility for the education of their children.