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Template for Letter to Minister of Education regarding Bill

Dec 18, 2011
 
There have been requests for a template to assist people in drafting a letter to Minister Lukaszuk regarding Bill 18 Education Act.  It is ultimately best for people to write their own letter, from their own perspective, while including pertinent feedback on Bill 18 Education Act http://www.aheaonline.com/index.php/political-updates/192-bill-18-education-act
.
May I suggest the following as a brief outline for a letter
1.      
1.Send your letter to your MLA and cc it to Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Education (or vice versa).
2.      
2.Write a brief introduction stating you are a concerned parent.
3.      
3.You may want to provide a brief statement about your family or educational philosophy.
4.      
4. Briefly outline your concerns, ie. Defining a home education program as a school is a serious concern.  Including the Human Rights Commission in the Education Act is dangerous and inappropriate, parents have the paramount authority in the education of their children.
5.      
5.Copy and paste the information on Bill 18 as an attachment or as the bulk of your letter http://www.aheaonline.com/index.php/political-updates/192-bill-18-education-act .
     
     Some families have agreed to share the letters they wrote (collected and identifying markers removed by contributing families).   These letters provide variety and ideas on how to possibly approach the task of writing your letter to the Minister of Education.  The format of the letters was not able to be preserved when copying it to this forum.  When drafting your letter, please allow it to reflect your family, while mentioning the key issues with Bill 18.
      
     Blessings on your efforts and advocacy for home education.
   
Letter 1:Example of Letter on  Bill 18 from Family with years experience both Homeschooling and in School
    
December 20,  2011
Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427-5010

Dear Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk,
  
Re: Important Changes in the Education Act
     
As a family with many years experience both in schools and in home schooling in Alberta since 1997, we would like to share with you some serious concerns regarding the proposed Education Act.
   
First of all, we must say that we have been very impressed with the diversity of options available to aid families in the education of their children, as well as the support we were able to receive from the supervising authority/school board of our choice in meeting specific needs.  At one point, ­__________had an assignment overseas , and our children were able to successfully complete required Alberta courses from abroad.  At present, _______of our____ children have graduated successfully and have or are pursuing Post Secondary studies.  
   
Having lived in different parts of the world, we must say that we have been very impressed with the diversity of educational options available in Alberta as compared to other places, as well as the Government’s consistent support of parents in their role as the primary educators of their children.   We have seen the principle of subsidiarity in action here in Alberta, and would wish to continue to reap the benefits of the unique strengths of the Alberta education system.
   
Current research is backing up what we have experienced ourselves:   the current Home Education Regulation, which took effect August 1, 2006 after three years of development, is working quite well and does not need to be revisited.  Please have a look at the 2 links re: research on home schooling: 1.  http://www.nheri.org/Research-Facts-on-Homeschooling.html
  
We believe the clause defining a home school program as a “school” as a significant and misguided inclusion in the Education Act.  The home school environment is unique and the definition of ‘school’ is inappropriate in this situation.
  
That said, we also wish to share with you other concerns regarding proposed “sweeping” changes in the bill.   These sections may have a huge impact on family life and on the options our young people have available to them towards receiving a good education.  Would you please have a careful look at the attachment for a more detailed explanation?
  
Finally, we think it is absolutely crucial to fight to keep Bill 44 in place, which protects the primary role of parents in overseeing their children’s education.   We would like to see Alberta Education hold onto what is working well in education in the Province.  We thank you for your careful consideration of our concerns and would be more than happy to share further or  answer questions at any time.
  
Sincerely,
  
Mr. and Mrs. _______________________
 
cc:         Honourable Alison Redford, Premier;
 [Your MLA]
  
Appendix: Proposed Changes to Bill 18 Education Act
 (copied and pasted from http://www.aheaonline.com/index.php/political-updates/192-bill-18-education-act )
  
  
Letter 2: Example Letter to MLA from Rural Homeschooling Family
  
October 14. 2011
Dear  [ MLA ],
    
cc: Honourable Alison Redford, Premier;
Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Education
    
Thank you for your time to hear our concerns regarding Bill 18 Education Act and any future reviews of the Home Education Regulation. As a rural home schooling family with four children, the Education Act and Home Education Regulation are significant to our family and the choices we have for our children’s education.
   
Home schooling in Alberta currently provides children with different opportunities than they would have within the regular school system, while preparing them to advance to post-secondary education of their choice.  We are thrilled that our children are excelling at their studies with the individual attention they receive at home. We use the flexibility of their schedule to help them develop interests and opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them. We are confident that all of our children will graduate, pursue post-secondary education and contribute in a meaningful way to the communities in which they live.
 
Bill 18 Education Act will define our responsibility and freedom as parents to provide our children with a quality home education. Because of the significant impact this
will have on our family life, we are asking you to advocate for the changes (outlined in the attachment to this letter) to Bill 18 Education Act.
 
We are very happy with the current Home Education Regulation which took effect August 1, 2006 after three years of development. We see no reason to review the current regulations but realize that this may happen with the passing of Bill 18 Education Act. We ask that you would involve the Alberta Home School Education Association (AHEA) in all stages of any future reviews to ensure that the current level of functionality is maintained for homeschooling
families like ourselves who use them.
 
Very favourable results have been achieved by home schooled children with very little regulation. Check out the following Canadian study:  http://www.hslda.ca/cche_research/2009StudySynopsis.pdf.
 
You as a legislator can ensure continued educational choice for parents in Alberta. Enacting legislation and regulation that continues to recognize parents’ paramount right and responsibility to make decisions regarding their children’s education is essential. Passing Bill 18 Education Act with the changes we propose in the attachment to this letter and keeping the current Home Education Regulation will provide Alberta’s children with the greatest opportunities anywhere to achieve their full potential. Thank you for carefully considering our concerns. We are happy to provide further input upon request.
 
Sincerely,           __________________ & ___________________       
Attached: 2 pages: 
Proposed Changes to Bill 18 Education Act
Letter 3: Example letter from a family waiting to begin their children’s formal education 
[YOUR ADDRESS]
 
[DATE]
 
Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk
Legislature
Office
 
423 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB
Canada T5K 2B6
  
Re: Important Changes in the Education Act 
 
Dear Honourable  Thomas Lukaszuk,
 
 As a family of young children, we would  like to voice to you some of our concerns regarding Bill 18 Education Act. We currently have [#] children, ages ? and ?, and are currently expecting our ? child; therefore, we know that changes that result from the Education Act will have a large impact on our children and our family since we are going to be entering the school system in September, 2012.
 
 From the research that we have done, we have been impressed that we have many options for schooling for our children. This is particularly of importance to us since we would like to  rovide our children with the best opportunities for their education.  As our children start schooling, we look forward to them reaping the benefits of Alberta’s educational options.
 
Enacting legislation and regulation that continues to recognize parents’ paramount right and responsibility to make decisions regarding their children’s education is essential. Passing  Bill 18 Education Act with the changes we propose following this letter and keeping the current Home Education Regulation will provide Alberta’s children with the greatest opportunities to achieve their full potential.
 
Regarding home education, current research is backing up that the current Home Education Regulation, which took effect August 1, 2006 after three years of development, is working quite well and does not need to be revisited.  Please have a look at the 2 links re: research on home schooling: 1. http://www.nheri.org/Research-Facts-on-Homeschooling.html
We believe the clause in the draft Bill 18 which defines home schooling as a “school” should be removed from Bill 18 Education Act. Most Canadian provinces excuse home educated students from attendance requirements and school-specific legislation, and require home educators to fulfil the requirements of the Provincial Home Education Regulation only. This understanding results in much less confusion when trying to meet the requirements of laws in a homeschooling situation.
 
Finally, we think it is absolutely crucial to fight to keep Bill 44 in place, which protects the primary role of parents in overseeing their children’s education.   We would like to see Alberta Education hold onto what is working well in education in the Province.  
 
 We thank you for carefully considering our concerns. Please know that we would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you in more detail or to answer questions at any time.
 
Sincerely,
 
[YOUR NAMES]
[YOUR PHONE NUMBER]
 
cc:          Honourable Alison Redford, Premier
[YOUR MLA]
 
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