My Dear Friends:
Today is a good day.
Home educators have good reason to smile and celebrate today.
Today the Education Minister of Alberta, Jeff Johnson, introduced a new Education Act in the Alberta Legislature.
Patty Marler and Paul van den Bosch represented AHEA at a technical briefing this afternoon where we got an advance look at some sections of the new Act.
We couldn't share it until the Minister introduced the bill, but we then had opportunity to express our support during the Minister's press conference for the sections we had read.
The new Act includes some key wording that shows the Minister has listened to Alberta parents.
Here are the key sections. . .
Where the previous versions of the new Education Act (Bill 18 under Dave Hancock and Bill 2 under Thomas Lukaszuk) contained reference to the Alberta Human Rights Act, the new act - Bill 3 - uses the wording from the current School Act:
"Diversity and respect
16(1) All courses or programs of study and instructional materials used in a school must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the common values and beliefs of Albertans.
(2) For greater certainty, the courses or programs of study and instructional materials referred to in subsection (1) must not promote or foster doctrines of racial or ethnic superiority or persecution, social change through violent action or disobedience of laws."
Further to that, Bill 3 adds wording detailing parental responsibilities that state clearly that parents have a "prior right" over their children's education because parents are the "primary guide and decision-maker" over children's education:
32 A parent has the prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be provided to the parent’s child, and as a partner in education, has the responsibility to (a) act as the primary guide and decision-maker with respect to the child’s education,"
Today is indeed a good day!
So please thank God for today.
And after celebrating, here is some further information for you.
1 - the bill was only introduced for first reading today (which is a first step to the passing of the bill). We need to continue to pray for passage of the bill and positive reaction to it from all interested parties.
2 - there are many regulations that follow from the Education Act (including the Home Education Regulation) and Alberta Education will be reviewing those regulations over the next 18 months. We need to pray for God's will in that review too (and we will be involved in the review of the regulation right from the beginning).
3 - we need to give credit where it is due and say "thank you!" to those who have helped us in getting our concerns known.
So please call your MLA, and please call the Education Minister's office, to thank them for listening and responding to Alberta parents.
Thank you to everyone for praying and for all your efforts on behalf of home schooling parents and all Alberta parents.
Thank you God for your steadfast grace during all of this!
Blessings on you and your family.
Government Liaison for AHEA