Thank-you for your concerns. We hope this information will facilitate an understanding of the AHEA position. While there are many expressions of home-based education in Alberta, and all of them are valid and effective forms of education, AHEA was first and foremost started as (and continues to be) a supporter and promoter of traditional home education where the parent is the primary educator.
Included are definitions of ‘Home Education’ taken directly from the Alberta Funding Manual:
An educational program consisting of two distinct parts:
- A school-provided program where a teacher employed by a school board or an accredited funded private school is responsible for providing the planning, resource selection, instructional delivery, assessment and evaluation of student progress in selected courses that follow the Alberta Program of Studies with the following minimum requirements:
- Grade 1 – 9 Minimum of 50%
- Grade 10 – 12 Minimum of 20%
- A Home Education Program that meets the requirements of the Home Education Regulation.
Funding Manual - Glossary of Terms pg 176
Home Education Regulation (Definition taken from Home Education Regulations)
(e) “home education program” means an education program provided by a parent to a student in accordance with this Regulation, but does not include any portion of an education program that is the responsibility of a board or an accredited private school to deliver;
click on Home Education Handbook and go to Appendix A pg 30
Please notice that the distinction is in who is responsible for the education. From its beginning in 1986, AHEA has existed to provide support to the parents who are responsible for the education of their children. At that time, not only did ‘government-provided blended education’ not exist; there were very few registering authorities (more commonly referred to as ‘school boards’) encouraging or accepting parents who were taking the responsibility to teach their children at home.
Over the years as financial assistance increased, so did the government’s role in resuming the responsibility. AHEA has remained consistent with its original reason for starting—to provide support to parents.>
Since, by its own definition, blended education is the responsibility of the registering authority rather than the parent, it is beyond our role to provide support to public school boards. This may seem trivial to many; however, few realize that the actual portion of any blended program is not even part of the Home Education Regulations, but rather is governed by the School Act. >
The implications of this one fact are huge but not widely understood by many home educating families. This is not an issue of parents being able to choose their own teaching materials; rather, it is a matter of who is taking responsibility for the student’s education.
Note in the definition of Blended Program: ‘a teacher employed by the school board is responsible to provide the planning, resource selection, instructional delivery and assessment/evaluation.’ This is why the government gives more funding to these boards, so that they can fulfill their responsibility to the families.
There has been a policy in place for several years regarding the registering authorities that provide extended public education (blended). Each year, the convention team sends written contracts to all attending registering authorities, in which they agree to not discuss or offer blended options while at the AHEA convention. Each year attending authorities have signed this contract, and yet repeatedly this contract has been breached by several boards.
At one point AHEA ‘passed’ on having ANY registering authorities present at the convention in an attempt to eliminate or at least lessen the whole issue of choosing a school board.
We sincerely hope to provide encouragement and teaching both through the speakers and through opportunities for families to view and purchase curriculum options/educational materials.
AHEA’s continued desire to support and encourage parent-directed education does not in any way exclude any family’s educational choices. We have no authority to forbid other avenues of education, and recognize that there will always be various options available ranging from private Christian schools, to on-line education, to parent-directed home education.
However, we do recognize that our purpose is limited to our original goal of supporting parents in their responsibility rather than providing a venue for government-directed blended programs.
We appreciate this opportunity to express our position. We hope this has helped to clarify why we have followed through on a policy that has been in existence for several years.