Alberta Education Act: Update and Call to Action
If you attended one of the ARPA events last week in Calgary, Coaldale, Edmonton, and Neerlandia, you would have heard André speak about the importance of making changes to the new Education Act. Since then, you may have heard that the Education Minister has indeed made some changes by clarifying the role that parents have in education. However, it is important to note that these changes do little to alleviate the fundamental concern with the legislation – the fact that it requires all education to be subject to the problem-filled Alberta Human Rights Act. As many of our readers are well aware, lip service can be paid to freedom of religion, speech, and parental rights but the reality is that when they are challenged through the province’s Human Rights Act, they almost always are undermined by the “rights” of special interest groups (learn more at our site www.HumanRightsCommissions.ca and by reading an excellent article here).
The Minister has made it clear that he is getting some nasty emails/phone calls. That is inappropriate. Please keep in mind that we must show honour and respect to our authorities, regardless of how important an issue may be. When sending your email or making your phone call, first take the time to thank the Minister for listening and for taking steps to acknowledge parental responsibility. Then kindly explain that our concerns will remain until the new Education Act is amended so that it is not subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Please note the information meetings and rally (not coordinated by ARPA) below.
Also, please set aside 15-30 minutes to get in touch with your MLA and the Minister of Education. Time is of the essence.
Thank you for your service for faith and freedom.
Alberta Human Education Assocation Newsletter (March 15, 2012)
PC Government Refusing to make changes to Section 16
Action Thus far:
The Alberta Government continues its refusal to heed the concerns of Albertans.
Home Educators have worked incredibly hard to share our message of concern with Education Minister Lukaszuk related to continuing to be defined as a school, section 16, and the preamble of the Bill 2 Education Act (http://www.hslda.ca/blog). The Minister has refused to listen to:
– in-person meetings, telephone meetings and written correspondence between AHEA and Mr. Lukaszuk.
– hundreds of people who attended a rally at the legislature on March 5 to show their support for changes to Bill 2. This rally was particularly impressive given the 3 days notice and poor driving conditions.
– thousands of calls from Alberta Home Educators spanning the course of weeks.
– the one day blitz of phone calls from concerned citizens across Canada, the USA, and Internationally.
– hundreds of well penned letters sent to the Minister of Education.
In response to concerns raised by home educators, the Education Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk proposed the following amendment for Bill 2 into the legislature on March 13, 2012.
Whereas the Government of Alberta recognizes that parents have a right to choose the religious and ethical traditions in which their children are raised; that a child’s education begins in the home; that parents play a foundational role in the moral and spiritual formation of their children; and that these principles are reflected in the commitment of the Government of Alberta to provide parents choice in education, including public schools, separate schools, francophone schools, charter schools, private schools and home education programs.
This proposed change in the preamble wording still stated that the government has authority for the education of our children and that they ‘allow’ us to choose from a variety of educational options. Significant debate in the legislature occurred on Wed. March 14, which revealed the true heart of may MLA’s. The belief that the state’s role in education trumps a parent’s role was widespread. This debate confirmed that parents’ concerns regarding their authority over their children and their ability to teach their own values is truly at risk.
The PC government has also failed to propose an amendment to s.16 of Bill 2.
Bill 2, continues to have the potential to legislate social engineering of Albertan children based on Alberta Human Rights tribunal rulings.
Minister Lukaszuk’s comments
In a tweet immediately after the March 5 rally at the legislature, Mr. Lukaszuk stated:
“Attended a rally put on by some home schoolers who protest against human rights in education”
This disrespect for or ignorance to the message home educators presented is disturbing.
We’re not alone
‘Citizens for Diversity in Education’ have met and are like minded with AHEA in their concerns regarding Bill 2. Representatives from Citizens for Diversity in Education include:
– ACSI-Association of Christian Schools International,
– Edmonton Christian Schools Society
– Edmonton Society for Christian Education
– Living Waters Christian School Society
– Strathcona Christian Academy Society
– Meadowlark Christian School Society
– Mill Woods Christian School Society
– Wildrose Alliance Party
– Congregations of the Living Church of God
– Mill Woods Pentecostal Assembly
Parents of these associations have become aware of how Bill 2 can affect them, and they are voicing their opposition. A strong coalition has formed with Parental Freedom in the Education of children being the issue at heart.
In spite of this, it continues to appear that the Tory caucus is at an impasse: several MLAs have requested changes to the Education Act but the key ‘power-holders’ (especially the Premier and the Minister of Education) are apparently unwilling to move.
In spite of this, it continues to appear that the PC caucus is at an impasse: several MLAs have requested changes to the Education Act but the key ‘power-holders’ (especially the Premier and the Minister of Education) are apparently unwilling to move.
A Call to Action for all Parents in Alberta
Rise up in protest against Bill 2, the government’s attempt to restrict freedom in education.
Bill 2, the Conservative Government’s new education bill, contains a requirement that all education in Alberta be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA), whether it be public, private, faith based, or homeschooling. The AHRA is the discredited Act which has been used to stifle religious freedom in the province and was recently censored by the Supreme Court for its actions against an Alberta Pastor.
While it is only a small section (s.16), this has the potential to remove a great deal of the freedom in education that Albertan’s have come to enjoy. For details of the Bill and the history and concerns with it visit www.hslda.ca and www.aheaonline.com.
To this end we have scheduled the following events:
Information Meetings in Edmonton and Calgary
Want to know more about the changes in Bill 2?
Want to more fully understand the potential consequences?
Want to get your friends and neighbours involved but don’t know how to explain the problems?
These questions and more will be answered and discussed at these meetings.
Where: Providence Renewal Centre, 3005 119 St. NW, Edmonton
When: 4:00 pm, Saturday, March 17
Where: Delta Calgary South, 135 Southland Drive SE, Calgary
When: 7:00 pm, Saturday, March 17
Protest on the steps of the Legislature Monday, March 19 (10800 97 Avenue Northwest)
We are in the final hour of this fight. Right now amendments are being debated. It is very possible that debate will be closed on Tuesday and Bill 2 will be passed in spite of the vocal objections of thousands of Alberta Parents. If we are to see any change, we need thousands of parents on the steps of the Alberta Legislature on Monday.
10:30 am – arrive and organize into groups to visit your MLA’s office with others from your riding
12:00 pm – Rally on the steps of the legislature with speakers from concerned groups
(this is the key event where we need the maximum numbers possible)
Afternoon – visit the gallery and stay at the legislature in protest
On Behalf of,
HSLDA, AHEA, ACSI, ECSS, ESCE, LWCSS, SCAS, MCSS, MWCSS, WAP, CLCG, MWPA
Keep the Pressure On:
- Speak to and e-mail your own MLA. Describe how s.16 will affect their children and grandchildren. Use the information from or the complete document here to try to convince your MLA of the merits of a change to s.16.
- If your MLA is not running for re-election, encourage him/her to vote his/her conscience and not the party line. A list of retiring MLA’s may be found here.
- If your MLA is seeking re-election and if Bill 2 has become an election issue for you, let your MLA know. Polls show support for the PC’s waning and it is important to tell your MLA how their vote on this issue will affect how you vote in the next election.
- Continue to telephone the minister of Education, your MLA, and Premier Redford. Ask for the definition of a home education program to be taken out of the Act and for an amendment to s.16.
- Attend the legislative debates by sitting in the gallery.
- Send the above information to administrators at local schools. Tell them how s.16 will affect the curriculum used in their school. Encourage administrators to have their parents call the Minister of Education and their own MLA. Again, use the information from or the complete document here.
- Send the above e-mail to everyone in your personal e-mail contact list who might take issue with s.16. Urge them to call the Minister of Education.
Parental freedom is at stake. Remain strong.