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Alberta Home Education Association

Keep up to date with everything going on in our province!

eAlert: Bill 24 Ramifications Continue Apace

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More Bill 24 ramifications occurred last week. The Alberta government is demanding that independent schools renounce their religious policies. Bill 24 was sold as enforcing certain types of clubs in schools. Now it's being used to restrict the religious basis on which many Alberta independent schools are formed.
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Bill 24 Injunction: Judgement and Our Joint Future

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judge•ment

(also judgment)

  1. the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
    "an error of judgement"
    "that is not, in my judgement, the end of the matter"
    synonyms: acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, common sense, good sense, sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, penetration, acuity, discrimination, wisdom, wit, native wit, judiciousness, prudence, sagacity, understanding, intelligence, awareness, canniness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, cleverness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic

  2. a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.
    "the events of the last week are a judgement on us for our sinful ways"

 Allow me to set the stage…

There was a great deal of behind-the-scenes manoeuvering for the dates on the injunction hearing and ruling that would determine if schools would be seen as non-compliant with Bill 24. Schools had to file their paperwork by June 30, indicating that they agreed to be compliant on the form in order to successfully submit it online. Without indicating their compliance and being able to submit the form — eerily similar to the Canada Summer Jobs attestation scandal that is plaguing the current federal government — they would have to submit a paper copy instead and could expect to face the consequences. Trying to comply with Alberta Education and still remain true to their faith, the twenty-six faith-based schools listed as plaintiffs in the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) court case and injunction, and many, many more schools behind the scenes, rooted for a sliver of hope and for some time to continue being themselves until the case is heard sometime in 2019.

They were not alone. . .

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Alberta Politics

This will be a critical year in Alberta politics. We will need to be ready to respond as events unfold.

  • ​ We need to continue to build representation within the United Conservative Party (UCP), New Democrat Party (NDP), and every other political party, so that each party will invite AHEA and its members to their discussion table. It is the only way to fulfill our mandate. AHEA exists to represent our interests in government so that we can enjoy the fruits of that labour and seek to maintain the home education option.
  • It is critical that we work during this year to remain engaged in the political process and be as well informed as possible. Please keep an eye on our Political Updates page on the AHEA website, the E-Alerts that arrive in your inbox (you can subscribe to receive these at www.aheaonline.com), as well as the AHEA Facebook page. Here we can provide information on the educational platforms and statements from all the parties, as we are able. We will focus on passing on information, even when we all may not agree. As homeschoolers, I know we value the freedom of expression and the right to form your own opinion. However, as always, I encourage you to be kind and clear in your comments so that the focus is on the discussion.
  • We need to be active in each riding, in each association, on the executive, and even as candidates ourselves! The nomination of good candidates will have an enormous impact; we want representatives we can stand behind. At this point, the UCP has the most supportive policies with regard to home education. It appears that UCP nominations will be happening soon and will be staggered, so you will need to check your riding for actual dates (https://www.unitedconservative.ca). Visit https://act.albertandp.ca/events for information on NDP nominations, https://www.albertaparty.ca/open-nomination-contests for Alberta Party nominations, and https://www.albertaliberal.com/take_action for information on Liberal Party nominations.
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Bill 24 Injunction by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

As a homeschool community, we strongly support any efforts to maintain a parent's legal and fundamental rights to their children and being fully informed. This case was heard in Medicine Hat on June 20th, and is currently under advisement with a 'timely ruling' promised before June 30th. Our immediate and urgent prayers should be going up for the judge and the judgement. One of the largest court cases of our day, it has received little press from the time of filing until recently. There are actually 26 faith-based schools of differing faiths, along with individual parents and groups, including Parents for Choice in Education. John Carpay explained that, "An injunction on Bill 24 provisions would prevent these provisions from being put into force until after the Court has determined the constitutionality of the Bill." He is referring to the Bill's provisions that keep parents in the dark about their child's involvement in student groups or activities and illegal for the staff to share information with parents in all cases. These parents assert that keeping parents in the dark threatens the safety of some of Alberta's most vulnerable and at-risk students.

http://www.parentchoice.ca/bill24_pce_goes_to_court

https://www.jccf.ca/injunction-hearing-to-stay-bill-24-provisions-in-medicine-hat-today/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-albertas-gay-straight-alliance-law-faces-court-challenge/

http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/parentchoice/mailings/33/attachments/original/PCE_Summary_page_2017.11.07_-_How_does_Bill_24_isolate_children_and_control_schools.pdf?1510115864

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Trinity Western University's Recent Supreme Court Decision

This ruling is almost hard to quantify in its impact. The implications are going to reverberate down throughout the laws of our land. At stake were the freedoms of speech, religion and association and these are near and dear to the hearts of home educators, and all people who value freedoms. We encourage you to read up on the various perspectives that people are sharing. . . there are many.

Here are a few to get you started:

National Post: The Supreme Court decides that faith is now banned from Canada's public spaces

The Gospel Coalition: A Christian Response to the Trinity Western Decision

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms: Freedom of association rejected by Supreme Court of Canada in Trinity Western ruling

Danielle Smith - 770 CHQR: Trinity Western University

ARPA Canada: Supreme Court: TWU and Wall

ARPA Canada: Supreme Court rules against TWU, placing public perception over rule of law

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: Trinity Western University School of Law

And you may want to sign up for this FREE webinar that will break down the implications of the case:

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: Sign up for Webinar on Supreme Court TWU Decision

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Cornerstone Christian Academy

Alberta Education continues to focus its energies on eliminating exceptions to the public school system. We should be fully aware of these efforts that are being felt around the province, and realize that we want to stand together, lest we fall apart.

The school was in court last month in Wetaskiwin for an injunction with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms against closure by the Battle River School Division (BRSD). The court ruled against Cornerstone's request to continue to operate under BRSD. "Justice Clarkson agreed, however, that it would be unconstitutional for the Alberta government to refuse to grant Cornerstone Christian Academy private school status, which Cornerstone held until it joined BRSD in 2009." Please pray for the families and school as they decide how to respond to the negative decision from the bench.

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms: Judge rejects injunction to stay closure of Cornerstone Christian Academy

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UCP AGM In Review

As always, AHEA encourages its members to be politically active and advocate for the rights of parents and home educating in Alberta. May 4-6, the United Conservative Party had its Founding AGM and voted on many new policies. Many policies were submitted by AHEA members and AHEA Board Members. Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this way!

Because of your efforts, parental rights in education were solidified as a policy for the UCP!

The exact wording of the passed policy is as following:

"The United Conservative Party is committed to affirming the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children."

This is a very significant stance for the UCP party to take and one that is of great value to home educators.

Another policy which passed is very important for home educators R106) "The UCP party is committed to parental choice in education, in both form and content." The 'form and content' component is very significant in AHEA's advocacy work with the UCP party!!

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Bill 24 - Depriving Kids of Their Parents

Bill 24 - An Act to Support Gay Straight Alliances - was introduced in the legislature on Thursday, November 2, 2017. The stated aim of the legislation is to provide a caring and safe environment for students, but the practical application of this bill is to effectively remove parents from being the primary supporters and guides of their children. Bill 24 mandates that those who attend GSAs, (which could potentially include youth who are struggling with making important identity decisions) be deprived of their right to be guided and supported by those who care for them most, their parents.

AHEA met with Minister Eggen's staff to discuss Bill 24. It was suggested that the legislation would not come out and 'touch' home educators, but it does affect parental authority.

AHEA supports caring for and loving students which is why there is concern for the mandated removal of parents.

Please consider contacting your MLA.

AHEA encourages you to voice your support to those MLAs who stand for parental authority: MLAs opposed to Bill 24

 

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School Act Consultations

The Government has decided to not proclaim the Education Act for the 2017-18 school year and will continue to use the School Act as the legislation for education in Alberta. The School Act will be brought before the legislature this fall with specific legislative administrative changes to be debated.

Alberta Education is currently conducting a series of consultation meetings to review specific areas of the School Act. The items that are being consulted on came from discussions through the Minister's Board tours this past spring and summer as well as further work on Bill 1 and School Fees. AHEA's attendance at these meetings was not requested, but Assistant Deputy Minister Wendy Boje did meet with AHEA President, Patty Marler to discuss the consultations and the review. ADM Boje indicated that the School Act consult this fall focuses on three areas:

- Educational Service Agreements:

The focus is on service agreements between First Nations communities and local public/catholic school boards

- Age of Entry:

This discussion focuses on the determining the youngest age at which a student may access funding for education with the idea that a standardized age would provide consistency across the province. (i.e. must be 5 prior to Dec.31/Feb.28/Jan 31) (The Education Act had established a common age of entry)

- Age of Access:

This topic reviews the maximum age for providing educational funding to students and how programming is to be implemented for older students. (currently at 19, although funded to age 20, consult is exploring up to the age 21)

It is important to note that AHEA president, Patty Marler, clarified with ADM Boje that the compulsory ages for education will not be changed in the School Act. The School Act defines Compulsory education as being required between the ages of 6 (at September 1) and 16 (younger than 16 on September 1 of the school year).

No educational choice changes to the School Act are to be proposed during this review of the School Act. AHEA advocated for a notification only option for home educators.

It is important to note that AHEA and AHEPS were notified and provided the opportunity to provide input on behalf of home educators relevant to the identified School Act review topics.

Patty Marler
President of AHEA

 

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2017 Standards for Home Education Reimbursement

Alberta Education has released their 2017 Standards for Home Education Reimbursement document. The changes AHEA informed home educator's about on June 17 ( Alberta Education Review of Home Education Reimbursements ) have been made.

Both the document and a summary of significant changes to the document are included on Alberta Education's website. Many of the changes AHEA and home educator's advocated for have been incorporated.

Changes worth noting are:

  • 50% off music lessons may be reimbursed. This includes private music lessons.
  • Musical instrument rental may now be reimbursed (to a max of 50% of parent's funding).
  • The complete admissions to recreational activities (such as ski passes or multiuse facilities) may be reimbursed. Family passes are reimbursable if it is less expensive than individual student rates.
  • 50% of internet services may be reimbursed for the entire year (not just September to June)

You may view the document and the explanation of changes on the Alberta Education website https://education.alberta.ca/home-education-blended-programs/responsibilities/everyone/resources/

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