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Home education is generally misunderstood and unappreciated around the globe. Indeed, in many parts of the world, home education is either illegal, greatly controlled or simply not realistic, given that a good part of the global population is uneducated or under educated.
Home education is legal and generally accepted throughout North America, but varies with each state or province. Alberta’s home education situation is unique in that Alberta is one of the very few political jurisdictions in the world to fund home education as a viable option within its Ministry of Education.
Unique environments usually have unique species. Alberta’s unique approach to home education has created an environment where educational phenomena not seen anywhere else, exist.
To fully understand this, it is important to know that public and separate school systems, along with their alternative, inclusive and outreach programs as well as charter schools are funded 100%, with many additional allowances, while private schools are funded at 70% with no additional allowances.
Considering that public institutions get, on average, at least an equivalent to base funding in additional allowances, more accurately sees private schools operating at approximately 35% of what public schools receive.
Home education is funded at 25% of base funding, without additional allowances and with the mandate to provide half to the parents for the purchase of education supplies and services.
Again, since there are no additional allowances, home education, like private education, is more accurately operating at half of the stated amount, meaning home educating parents are achieving superior results with 6.25% of what it would cost to teach the same student in public school, with the other 6.25% being available for the administration of the home education program.
Now, one should be aware that not all of the money mandated to parental purchases of educational supplies and services is accepted or fully used by all parents. Any declined or unused funds are simply absorbed by the providing school so that, while the overall cost of home education may be at 25% of base funding, the schools would likely end up with 60% or more of it.
It is therefore rather amazing that so much has developed around so little funding, yet it has. Now, one must understand that a large number of students, even with a small amount of associated money, adds up to a lot of money and, where money exists, so does the propensity to want more of it. And the desire for money or for more of it brings all sorts of undesirable elements with it.
Now, while the funding of home education may be the root of this province’s home education problems, the fact that home educating students are allowed to register with any accredited public, separate or private school within the province has created a province-wide competitive environment for the home educated and the funds that come with them. This has spawned the creation of a uniquely made-in-Alberta home education industry.
Knowing this, one could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that the funded, borderless home educated students are likely seen as a commodity and thus, form the currency used to run the engine of this industry.
However, that would not be entirely accurate. While most people have heard that money is the root of all evil, they have heard wrong. Money is not the root of all evil. People doing all kinds of evil to get more of it is actually the problem, that is, the love of money is what leads them to do bad things.
As a consequence of Alberta’s having funded, borderless students, all sorts of things have come to be part of the greater Alberta home education community, and not all of it is positive. This is not to say that home educating parents do not appreciate the available funding, but that the industry that has grown around that funding is becoming entrenched and increasingly addicted to it.
As this occurred, the competition between home education providers heated up, resulting in all kinds of events and actions that any serious believer in biblical standards would have to consider as less than righteous and most certainly not in the best interest of, or best examples for, home educating students.
I could go on about how groups of parents are being moved from school to school or how the biggest player in this industry has out competed the rest, compromised and manipulated to gain the prominent place it now enjoys within Alberta’s home education community, or how there has been a nearly wholesale return to using government curricula and programming, but that would require several rather negative editions of this blog!
While there is no doubt that the larger than average home education population of this province is likely due to the availability of funds, it can also be stated that if the funding were to be rescinded, many home educators of this province would likely send the children back to school.
It is also fairly safe to say that nearly the entire home education industrial complex that is continuously telling the province’s home educators how much they “love” and appreciate them would vanish should the funding stop.
The real reason home education is in trouble in this province has everything to do with money, but more accurately with a home education industrial complex willing to do anything to get their hands on that dough, including, agencies, providers, schools, suppliers, facilitators and unfortunately, a lot of parents who are home educating because of it.
In the end, while the money is good to have, it has largely been misappropriated by manipulative money mongers.
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