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An old politician once quipped that what starts as the election of an individual to represent constituents to Ottawa is often quickly transitioned into their becoming Ottawa’s representative to the constituents.
Is this standard procedure? How often are we misrepresented by our representative? Even more important is the question of how many are actually aware that they are being misrepresented.
To fully understand this problem is rather rare because most people are just too busy or simply not interested in what their representative is actually engaged in or doing. Most do not even take the time to vote, keep informed, attend meetings or communicate with those elected to represent them.
Politicians quickly learn that once elected, most of the people they represent are, in fact, disconnected from what is going on and so will endure little opposition unless, of course, something becomes a crisis. They then enter into crisis management, primarily designed to protect their reelection chances.
Although being misrepresented is usually thought of in relation to politicians, it can also be found with groups that ostensibly exist to advance, defend and/or support a particular cause. For instance, we have likely heard how very little of the money donated towards some noble effort actually ends up doing so, with the administration often taking a disproportionate amount.
These agencies are probably even more prone to lose their original purpose and mandate as they usually occupy a lower profile in most people’s minds and are usually under an ever-changing volunteer leadership.
However, when remuneration of staff takes place, agencies originally created by volunteers seem to take on a life of their own. Once this happens, a bureaucracy develops with survival as the ultimate objective and a direction set by whoever has the greatest influence.
Third party home education agencies are a case in point. How many parents are truly aware of the inside working and politics of agencies like their local support groups, the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA), the Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) or the Canadian Centre for Home Education (CCHE)?
While we may be aware of some of the internal struggles of our local home education support group, especially if we are involved in its leadership, we are likely oblivious to what is really happening if we are only attending occasional events or just uninvolved.
Our provincial organizations are further away from the day to day activities of our home education and so are less likely to be scrutinized by parents. National organizations are even further removed.
Most home educators simply take what information is provided to them by these agencies and assume that they are indeed truly representing them appropriately.
The big question is, are we getting all the information or only what is required to keep us believing that all is well? How are parents to know what is actually being done on their behalf unless they make a concerted effort to find out and even then, would they get the truth?
For instance, what if the majority of the decision making board of AHEA is directly affiliated or employed by another agency dependent on the same clientele for survival and growth? Could this other agency have undue influence on decision making?
Is it possible that AHEA, once created to advance, defend and support Christian home education, could be redirected to advance, defend and support the industry by pretending that home educators and the home education industry are one and the same thing? Could this eventually lead AHEA to sacrifice home educators in order to protect the ongoing interests of the industry in general, if not Wisdom Home Schooling in particular?
If so, to benefit industry players, particularly the one with the greatest influence, Christian home educating parents are being misrepresented.
In another matter, have home educating parents taken notice of how critical situations in this province seem to become an opportunity for HSLDA to sell more memberships and appeal for more donations? Could HSLDA be misrepresenting Christian home educators by claiming to be defending them when it appears to be more focused on advancing itself?
Consider that once it was revealed that the biggest home education provider and largest contributor of funds to the CCHE Conference was complicit with government mandated Gay-Straight Alliances, the CCHE (the registered charity arm of HSLDA) sent members a letter informing them of the dangers of Bill 24.
One should note that rather than caution parents to seriously question who they were associated with, it appealed for donations towards defending home education against this government action. Who actually questioned just what HSLDA could do in this situation or how it would defend home education?
Could it be that in order to survive and thrive, HSLDA and the CCHE are misrepresenting Christian home educators?
Parents need to seriously question whether they are being misinformed, misdirected, misled or even misrepresented by industry agencies capitalizing on busy home educating parents’ inability to take the time to look into their inner workings.
Once again, I encourage you to go to the article found in the Current Issues section of Education Unlimited’s website entitled “Bill 24 and the Alberta Home Educator,” and research the options available, keeping a close eye on what your school or potential school has done respecting the latest Ministerial Order and make a wise decision to not get involved in compromising any part of your faith, irrespective of the advice or lack of advice from those presuming to be representing you.
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