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Bill 18 Education Act

July 12, 2011
Updated Nov 23, 2011
 
Bill 18 Education Act  http://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_27/session_4/20110222_bill-018.pdf has a number of areas of concern for Home Educators as outlined below. We would encourage you to speak to your MLA with regards to this Bill and to become involved in voicing your concerns through the Alberta Education blog at https://ideas.education.alberta.ca/engage/current-initiatives/action-on-legislation/education-act-general-ideas/education-act-general-ideas
This is the method of input the Minister is using primarily in gauging potential changes to the proposedEducation Act.  Remind your MLA’s that current Canadian research has shown how successful home education has been without a significant government control and restrictions and we would like to continue things this way. (If you would like a copy of this research to take to your MLA, please contact Patty Marler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).  The following are areas of concern for homeschoolers.
1. Defining Home Education as a 'School'
Bill 18 Education Act defines a Home Education Program as a ‘School.’ The unique environment in which a home education program is implemented results in many of the parameters that apply to a ‘school’ that are not likewise suitable parameters for a home education situation.
A. Interpretation 1(1)(w)
(w) “school” means a structured learning environment through which an education program is offered to a student by
(i) a board,
(ii) a person responsible for the operation of a private school,
(iii) a person providing an early childhood services program,
(iv) a parent providing a home education program, or
(v) the Minister;
This definition could be interpreted to mean that as home schoolers, we must follow all legislation and regulations required for all schools. This could translate to anything from having to provide adequate water fountain systems in our homes to providing ‘inclusive’ education in the form of curriculum and subject matter as defined by the Department of Education.
 
 
When you speak with your MLA, let them know that most Canadian provinces excuse home educated students from attendance requirements and school-specific legislation, and require home educators to fulfill the requirements of the Provincial Home Education Regulation only. This understanding results in much less confusion when trying to meet the  equirements of laws in a homeschooling situation.

AHEA has recommended to the Minister of Education that a home education program not be defined as a school.

2. Ideologies and Expectations for Education.

Bill 18 Education Act includes the following section:
A. Part 2 Opportunities for Learning:
Division 1: Diverse and Flexible Learning: Diversity and respect
16 All courses or programs of study offered 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 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Commission interpretations are repressive and oppressive towards the freedom of religion in their rulings. As a home educator, you may share with your MLA that you feel all matters of a social, religious, ideological, political, cultural and economic nature are personal options and therefore outside of the compelling interest of the State and the Department of Education.
NEW:  In Nov., 2011, the private member bill of Conservative MP Brian Storseth called for the repeal of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which deals with hate speach.  With the Federal government seeking to limit the powers of the CHRA, it seems irresponsible for the Alberta Government to be increasing it's power by imbedding it in a totally different legislation.

In addition, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act already apply to all Albertans. There is no legislative need to restate in the Education Act what has already been legislated elsewhere. AHEA has recommended removal of this statement.

Should this Part 2 (16) remain, the following is very bothersome:

Division 3: Private Schools 29 (4) The Minister may cancel or suspend the registration or accreditation of a private school (d) if the person responsible for the operation of the private school permits courses, programs of study or instructional materials that do not comply with section 16.

It is possible that some private schools or home education programming that promotes honouring and respecting individual people, but not affirming homosexuality, could contravene #16. This clause could be used to justify the closure of a private school or home education program due to the religious beliefs of the school or its home educators. Again, encourage your MLA to remember that matters of a social, religious, ideological, political, cultural and economic nature are personal options and therefore outside of the compelling interest of the State and the Department of Education.
3. Responsibility for Education.
AHEA recommends that parents speak to their MLAs about a parent’s paramount responsibility in the educational best interest of their children and recommends that this ‘paramount responsibility’ be stated clearly in Bill 18 Education Act.

A. Preamble Points 5 and 6
WHEREAS the educational best interest of the child is the paramount consideration in making decisions about a child’s education;
WHEREAS parents have the (paramount) right and the responsibility to make decisions respecting the education of their children;
AHEA recommends the addition of the word ‘paramount’ to the 6th preamble statement.

 
4. Compulsary age of Education
Bill 18 Education Act is also proposing to increase the compulsory age of education to 17 from 16 (under the current School Act). This change may translate to educational limitations for many home educated students.
B. Part 1: Access to Education: 
Compulsory Education 7(1)(c)
Compulsory education 7(1) A person who
(a) is a resident of Alberta and has a parent who is a resident of Canada,
(b) at September 1 in a year is 6 years of age or older, and
(c) subject to subsection
(2), is younger than 17 years of age, shall attend school.
Parents programming non-academic training such as trades, apprenticeships, entrepreneurial endeavours, or youth taking a year off after completion of a home education program would have to wait another year under this Act.
 
For more information, contact Patty Marler, AHEA Government Liaison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The World Needs Home Educating Fathers
 

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