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Categories: Léo’s Insights 2020-2021, On The Alberta Home Education Association
Tags: AHEA, Alberta Home Education Association, Notification Only
Every once in a while, someone gets inspired to fix a problem and, with much effort, accomplishes the task. The big questions are: what problem was being solved and was it really a problem in the first place? Furthermore, was consideration given to the fact that each new development comes with its winners and losers? How much did the losers lose and how are the winners really benefiting? Sometimes, victories are shallow. When truly evaluated, did the “solution” end up causing more harm than good, in the long run?
Take Alberta’s new home education option for Notification Only as an example. Had this been offered in 1988, it would have been a spectacular triumph. Thirty years later, however, with parents having full choice in where to register for home education, we must ask why we needed to solve a problem that essentially no longer existed. Today, anybody unhappy with their existing situation need only request a change of facilitator or find another willing non-resident board to work with.
Considering that since the early 1990s there has been a facilitator, a school and a board buffering parents from the government, one should question how the new Notification Only option is an improvement when it makes the government the direct family supervisor. The winner is clearly the government, while the home educator’s benefits are debatable.
What’s more, when Notification Only was being introduced as an additional option in the new Choice in Education Act, neither AHEA nor the government had any idea how this would be implemented or governed. Was anyone truly considering potential outcomes?
Did anybody ask if Notification Only students would be registered through PASI like every other student in the province, and who would be responsible for doing so?
What about student records? Does the former school simply hold on to these records until the seven year statute is reached?
Is there a standard the Director of Home Education can refer to when assessing students, or are assessments left to the subjective discretion of the Director?
And who is monitoring all of the above? All these unanswered queries should call into question the actual advantages of Notification Only.
The reason for making changes and the implementation of these changes have to be determined before the changes are approved; it makes no sense to work them out after the fact.
Are changes being made because they are necessary or simply because a change is needed? And if needed, who exactly needs the change?
If an agency is falling into disrepute or irrelevance, does solving a “critical” problem, real or otherwise, help to return it to purposeful existence? If so, is it possible, when the motivation is one of self-preservation, that critically analyzing the problem, possible solutions and consequent results, could take second place?
Since the very beginning of the home education movement, dedicated parents intent on accepting the responsibility for the education of their children have been seeking freedom from government control. This is because it was understood that it was God who created the children and who directed parents to train and teach them. I fail to understand how providing another option for acknowledging governmental claims to educational authority changes anything.
Had AHEA truly understood what “Christian” home education should look like, it would have advanced a solution that freed parents from any and all government involvement rather than creating yet another option that validates the government’s claim to having greater authority than parents.
Notification Only is really nothing to celebrate, even if it did take decades to achieve.
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