On August 11, 2011, all 6 leadership candidates were sent a questionairre on their views on home education. The responses of candidates who replied follows. This post will be updated as more responses are submitted.Ted Morton: Ted's complete response to questionairre
Doug Horner: Campaign team member response
Doug Griffiths: Campaign Team member responseUPDATE Sept 1, 2011:
I, Patty Marler, attended the leadership forum tonight and personally asked each candidate if they would support home educating parents right to plan, monitor and personally evaluate ( Provincial Achievement Tests optional) their home educated child as is now available under the Home Education Regulation. All 6 candidates indicated that they would support this.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my views on home education with your members.
1. What is your personal political position/ thoughts on home education?My wife Bambi and I were both teachers – we understand the value of education and know how rewarding it is to educate students. I am a strong supporter of choice in education, and the right of parents to make decisions pertaining to their children’s education – including educating them at home. After all, parents know what’s best for their children.
Alberta home educators have an excellent track record of success. In recent years, top universities have begun to aggressively recruit homeschooled students because of their strong academic achievement. This is a testament to the dedication of the parents who home school their kids and a repudiation of the critics who believe in a “one size fits all” approach to education.
I am continually impressed with families that choose home education. In addition to strong educational achievement, they are also very community-oriented: they are actively involved in their communities, churches, and volunteer groups. These are wonderful qualities that make our province and communities stronger.
2. If your personal thoughts are different from that of your party’s position, which would you promote and support?
The PC Party supports school choice, as do I. Choice in education is Alberta’s strength. Our education system is highly competitive because it allows parents, rather than the province's public servants, to make decisions when selecting education options for their children. In addition to the traditional delivery models of public and separate school boards, options like charter and religious denomination schools and home schooling help diversify and strengthen our education system. You can’t argue with positive results. Alberta's education system – particularly the pillar of parental choice – has been a model for jurisdictions around the world. Our children routinely out-perform all other provinces and U.S. states on standardized tests and Alberta graduates are well-equipped to compete in the global market place.
3. As Premier would you ensure that during all reviews of the Home Education Regulation, home educators are included in the initial review process and any subsequent redrafting of the regulation? Would you ensure that any changes to the Home Education Regulation were acceptable to home educators before changing the law?
Yes, it is essential that home educators are involved from initial consultation to the development of the regs for any proposed changes to the Home Education Regulation and provincial education legislation.
4. Home educators design specific education programs for individual students. These may differ from the Alberta program of studies. Therefore, the Provincial Achievement Tests in grade 3, 6,and 9 do not reflect the home educated student's true academic progress. Do you agree?
While I respect the right of home educators to tailor education programs to individual students, I also believe there must be some measure of accountability to ensure all Alberta students are learning, whether they are in public school, charter schools, or home schools. While the Provincial Achievement Tests are not a perfect measure of achievement, I believe they are one measure of our children’s educational progress and should be maintained for all students.
5. Do you think the current level of governmental involvement in Alberta home education:
(a) is necessary to ensure that no individual child’s education is neglected?
(b) is necessary so that the Minister can have statistical information on all students in the province?
(c) is justified because Alberta makes funding available?
(d) is more than is necessary?
Frankly, I am more interested in hearing the views of your organization and home educators on this matter. You deal with this issue every day and know firsthand how government involvement impacts you better than I could. I will commit to work collaboratively with homeschoolers to ensure we strike the right balance in government involvement with home education. The government does have a role to play to make sure there are appropriate checks in place so no child’s education is neglected, but it should not be overly burdensome to home educators.
6. Do you think the current Alberta Regulation of home education demands:
(a) too much of home educators
(b) too little of home educators
(c) just enough of home educators?
I understand from my conversations with home educators that the 2006 Home Education Regulation strikes a good balance. It is not as onerous as the pre-2006 regulation, but still maintains some basic rules and requirements to ensure quality education. A Ted Morton government would not return to the days of heavily regulated home education. Again, I am willing to have an open dialogue with home educators about the current regulation to make sure it is the right fit and allows our students to excel.
7. With which principle do you agree more:
(a) government permits parents to educate at home, or
(b) parents choose to not relinquish their rights to educate their children to the government to educate their children in public or separate schools?
I believe in parental choice and quality education for all Alberta children. If parents choose to educate their children at home, they have the right to do so. As Premier, I will protect the rights of parents to decide what type of education is right for their family. I will amend our education legislation by adding a preamble that clearly states that parents have the paramount right to make decisions regarding the education of their children.
8. Do you have any other comments regarding home education in Alberta?
School choice and home education are strong pillars of our successful education system. If elected Premier, I look forward to working with AHEA and home educators to ensure we continue to provide flexible, effective education options for Alberta families.