January 18, 2012
On January 12, AHEA and representatives of home educators met with Education Minister Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk. The meeting with Mr. Lukaszuk went very well.
We spent considerable time discussing home education and its merits. The Minister acknowledged that what we home educators are doing is valuable. He and his party value choice in education, and he sees merit in healthy competition in education.
We also discussed Bill 18 and spent considerable time discussing why a Home Education Program should not be defined as a school. While we are not 100% sure we convinced Mr. Lukaszuk of this fact, we believe he was seriously listening and contemplating our argument and alternative. The Department of Education has formally closed input on the proposed Education Act, but Mr. Lukaszuk indicated that he is still open to feedback in this area. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR MLA AND THE MINISTER'S OFFICE DIRECTLY TO LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU WOULD LIKE HOME EDUCATION REMOVED FROM THE SCHOOL DEFINITION IN THE NEW EDUCATION ACT.
A revised Act will be introduced to the spring legislature under a new name and bill number.
We also requested that AHEA be involved in any modifications to the Home Education Regulation including initial considerations and any redrafting of the regulation. Mr. Lukaszuk indicated that this would be done.
Mr. Lukaszuk requested the assistance of AHEA on some issues regarding how the Home Education Regulation is currently being applied in specific areas, and this new line of communication and level of interaction is encouraging. It would be great to develop a working relationship with the Minister and the Department of Education so we are not an ‘after the fact’ organization to be dealt with, but an association involved in preliminary planning. This was very encouraging.
Finally, we said a prayer for Mr. Lukaszuk and those attending the meeting as they have an important portfolio to manage. In a later communication, both Mr. Lukaszuk and his Executive Assistant, Mr. Kasbrick, stated their appreciation for our meeting and prayers.