Facilitation – History Pt. 2: Back to the Basics (Part 31)

Categories: Léo’s Insights 2023-2024, Back to the Basics

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Home education became part of the Alberta educational landscape for the first time with the 1988 School Act, and at this time, non-resident school boards also came into being.  We can assume the creation of non-resident school boards was to mitigate the persecution some home educators were experiencing by their local school boards.  Now, smaller school boards, mostly separate catholic ones, took the opportunity to expand their student count and corresponding associated funding without affecting their need for more school infrastructure.  After all, home educated students did not require classroom space, bussing or other school-based services.

Once the 1988 law was passed, smaller schools started aggressively recruiting the home educated, resulting in free-for-all bidding wars that encouraged parents to “sell” their students to the highest bidder.  One can be forgiven for believing schools, and parents, saw students more as a form of income than as intrinsically valuable human beings.  Perhaps not everyone got involved in this marketplace of registration (Faye and I didn’t), but it did change the home education landscape in the province, creating divisions that did not previously exist.

By the early 1990s, home education had once again become a bit of a concern to the government, as it observed some school boards engaging in questionable activities to get home educating students registered with their schools.  The equal funding level of the home educated with other students made the home educated premium clients, as the costs for providing services to them was much lower than regular students. This led the government to reduce the funding for home education to 25% of regular school students.

Facilitation developed alongside these changes to registration and funding.  In the beginning, schools were made responsible for ascertaining that home educators met government expectations.  Many insisted that parents report to the school, while some sent school emissaries to inspect the home education programs.  Hence, the birth of home education supervisors who would eventually become known as “facilitators”.

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