Sunday, September 24, 2023

UCP government introduces new legislation for parental choice in education

Alberta’s Education Minister says she’s making good on an election promise to safeguard parent choice.

On Thursday (May 28), Adriana LaGrange introduced Bill 15, the Choice in Education Act.

Under the bill, parents choosing to home-school their kids would no longer need to be supervised by an Alberta school board.

Premier Jason Kenney says the government committed to Albertans that it would introduce a Choice in Education Act to affirm that parents have the primary right to choose the education their children receive. “Parents, not politicians, know what is best for their kids, and our government is committed to delivering an excellent, world-class education that will equip them for life.”

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The new legislation though is something the Alberta Teachers’ Association is concerned with, saying a child’s right to a quality education must not be sacrificed in the name of parental choice.

If Bill 15 is passed, those wanting to establish a charter school would also go directly to the Education Minister, instead of their local school board for consideration. The province says it will create more options for parents to deliver home education to their children, and will allow for the establishment of charter schools that expressly focus on vocation-based education.

There haven’t been any charter school applications in Alberta since the UCP formed government, even though Premier Jason Kenney says the number of students wait listed is 14,000.

If this bill is passed it would become law on September 1, 2020.

The proposed Choice in Education Act:

  • Amends the preamble of the Education Act to include recognition of Section 26.3 of the Universal
  • Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
  • Protects parental choice while ensuring a strong public education system by indicating support for all types of schooling.
  • Supports the creation of new charter schools, including vocation-focused charter schools.
  • Protects the status and funding of independent schools.
  • Provides new options for parents who choose to home-school their children.
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