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Response to ATA letter: "Home Educators Miss the Point"

On March 27, an editorial on the ATA website by Jonathan Teghtmeyer was published:  Home Educators Miss the Point http://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20News/Volume%2046%202011-12/Number14/Pages/Home-educators-miss-the-point.aspx .   AHEA board member, Paul van den Bosch has sent the following reply.

To Jonathan Teghtmeyer, Alberta Teacher’s Association
Re: “Home educators miss the point” March 27, 2012 Editorial
In your editorial, you state that home educators are a group whose ‘complaints are unfounded and ridiculous’, that we ‘thrive on misinformation’ and that ‘if the home-schoolers had done their homework’ we wouldn’t be worried.  You further state that our expressions of concern were ‘an opportunistic move’ and that we are bent on ‘ignoring the greater
societal good that is served by public education’.
These are serious accusations which I cannot leave unanswered.

Response from Education Minister and Education Critics

AHEA wrote an e-mail and posed the following question to the Education Minister and each party's Education Critic.
"AHEA would welcome a statement from the Ministry of Education and Education Critics from all political parties as to your position on parent’s roles in the education of their children, rationale for the votes you made.  Your responses will be posted on our website.  If you would like to provide a response, please address it to myself, and I will be sure to have it posted on our website."
The following response has been received.

* Note New Information

Please continue scroll down to see the response received on April 9, 2012 from Rachel Notley 

Rob Anderson:  Wildrose Education critic
Hello everyone
A lot of incredible things happened at the Legislature on Wednesday -  I’ve never seen anything like it.
First off – great news - due to your campaign’s pressure, section 16 will not pass before the election! This is good news but really not very important as the PCs say they plan to bring it back unchanged right after the election. The PCs voted against both of our amendments to add paramountcy of parents to the preamble and to eliminate s.16.  This is very disappointing. The PCs have also decided they are committed to bringing this bill to the Legislature right after the election to pass – I guess that is still bad news.
Tuesday a source let us in on what the PCs were planning. Knowing they would bring it back right after the election, the PCs were hoping to allow the Wildrose to filibuster and kill the bill until after the election (when they would then pass it anyway). Of course, as you know Bill 2 is by and large a good Bill. It expands school choice especially regarding charter schools, takes on bullying in school, gives more autonomy to local school boards and does a whole lot of other things that will be very beneficial to our education system and that are in the Wildrose education platform. It’s just the preamble and s.16 of the 200 page bill that need changing. The PCs, said the source, were planning that a major part of their campaign attack against Wildrose was to let us filibuster s.16, see the bill die at our hands, and then attack us (with ads, etc) saying that the Wildrose didn’t support public education, or local autonomy, or charter schools, etc, etc – and that we were holding public school kids hostage for the fears of a few homeschoolers, etc, etc.

Why the Concern over the Alberta Human Rights Act?

Human rights are an issue which AHEA members take very seriously.   The tweet from Education Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk immediately following the March 5 peaceful rally "Attended a rally put on by some home schoolers who protest against human rights in education"  was disturbing. 
Provincial Human Rights Legislations have been studied at length and severely criticized by the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms.
According to the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms www.jccf.ca , and a study called “From Bad to Worse”, published in March 2011, Canadian Human Rights legislations have been described, at best, as being ‘bad’ as a result of their lack of procedural fairness and their violation of free speech rights.  Alberta has the second worst rating in Canada, for the fairness of its Human Rights Legislation according to the 6 page summary of the 49 page study http://www.jccf.ca/images/From%20Bad%20to%20Worse%20-%20Executive%20Summary.pdf
Carol Crosson, co-author of the research paper From Bad to Worse - Examining Restrictions on Speech and Procedural Fairness in Human Rights Legislation in fourteen Canadian Jurisdictions, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, appeared on the Rutherford show on March 21, 2012.  She discussed Human Rights Commissions and how they function, what they cover, areas of fairness, how complaints occur and how they are treated. She explained some of the weaknesses in the Alberta Human Rights Act, how it is enforced, and why as parents, our concern about our freedoms to express ourselves is a real and legitimate concern.
To listen to the interview, go to 10:00 a.m. on March 21st.  Skip ahead to 10:30 where the interview with Carol Crosson begins.
Finally, an extended column on Free Speech, posted by Brad Trost, describes clear examples of how Canada’s Human Rights Commmissions  ‘selectively oppress Canadians who hold small “c” conservative political or religious views.” 
This information should provides clear explanation as to why so many Albertans have insisted - and continue to insist - that the Alberta Human Rights Act NOT be enshrined within the Education Act.

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