Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA)
The Honourable Alison Redford
Premier of Alberta
An Open Letter to the Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, and to all of our newly-elected MLAs:
At this time, the Alberta Home Education Association congratulates the Progressive Conservative party on its election victory and we look forward, as always, to working together with the government to improve education in our great province.
Before the election, we had worked for several years with two Education Ministers – Dave Hancock and then Thomas Lukaszuk – and our efforts focused on improving education for all children through the recognition of the role of parents in that education.
To that end, we welcome the introduction and the passing of a new Education Act.
The goal of AHEA, before the election and still today, is to work with the government and all concerned parties to create an Education Act wherein the role of parents – and, indeed, the role of teachers and the Ministry of Education – continues to be respected and made clear.
The education of every child will be improved the more the parents of that child are involved in his or her education – including when that child attends a school – and so the role of parents must be recognized in any Education Act as paramount.
This is the goal of AHEA: to protect parental rights.
In order to do that, AHEA continues to ask that there be no reference to the Alberta Human Rights Act in any Education Act.
(AHEA would request several other things be made clear in the Act and we would welcome the opportunity to present those concerns at a meeting with the Premier and a meeting with the Minister of Education once that person is chosen).
The reason for requesting exclusion of the AHRA comes, in fact, from our deep concern for human rights: the AHRA is a narrowly-defined act intended to correct prejudice and inequality in the areas of employment, tenancy and public notices but not education (or, for that matter, many other areas of everyday life in Alberta).
To ask the AHRA to cover education – and, in effect, asking Human Rights commissioners to rule over education – is stretching the legislation beyond its capabilities and usefulness and would also make it the role of HR commissioners to determine the suitability of any education program.
AHEA recognizes that the government has an interest in education – not the paramount right, which lies with parents, but a ‘compelling interest’ as defined by the Supreme Court.
So AHEA does not want the Minister of Education to be removed from the supervision of education by relinquishing that supervision to commissioners.
Parents and teachers cannot negotiate with a Human Rights tribunal and so no parent – and no teacher in any school (public, Catholic, private, charter, home school, etc.) – wants to be under the microscope of such a commission, especially since commissioners are not educators.
Putting the Human Rights Act into the Education Act actually puts the Minister of Education under that same microscope too.
Currently, home educators in Alberta are respected in their role and Alberta parents enjoy freedom of choice in education, and AHEA fully expects that respect and freedom to continue.
We have worked with the government for many years to build this strong foundation and we look forward to working together again on the future review of the Home Education Regulation.
AHEA thanks the government for its consistency in the past which has led to this stability, and we look forward to collaborating in the future to make education in Alberta even better.
Thank you and best wishes for the future,
The Board of Directors of AHEA
Ted Tederoff – President, Chris Rogers - Vice-President
Paul van den Bosch - AHEA Spokesperson Patty Marler - Government Liaison
Terry Yaceyko Richard Yaceyko
Shannon Tederoff Juanita Rogers