HSLDA of Canada Hires Canadian Lawyer
Home School Legal Defense Association of Canada reached a major milestone this spring when it hired Canadian lawyer Dallas Miller of Medicine Hat, Alberta, to provide the legal representation for HSLDA members in Canada. Dallas Miller has a private law practice concentrating on civil litigation and real estate. He earned his law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984. Dallas is a strong Christian and is committed to helping home schoolers in Canada.
HSLDA of Canada members who have legal questions should first contact the HSLDA office in Edmonton at (403) 986-1566. Those calls which require the assistance of a lawyer will then be passed on to Dallas Miller.
The hiring of a Canadian lawyer is a major step forward for HSLDA of Canada, which was formed in 1991. HSLDA USA has supported the Canadian organization by providing a financial subsidy and legal representation from its lawyers. Now, HSLDA of Canada has more than 500 members, and is financially able to hire its own lawyer. The goal has always been to make HSLDA of Canada strong enough to function on its own. Welcome, Dallas!
HSLDA Opposes Proposed Testing Requirements in Alberta
The Minister of Education in Alberta, who is presently rewriting the regulations concerning home schooling, is actively considering a new requirement which would compel home school students in grades 3, 6, and 9 to take the exams which are used to test public school students on the public school curriculum.
This testing requirement is an attempt by the government to assert unnecessary control over home school children. Academically, there is no reason to require students to be tested on a curriculum they have not been taught. This is an effort by the government to pressure home schoolers into using the public school curriculum in order to do well on the public school test. HSLDA is urging home schoolers in Alberta to oppose this proposal, and to communicate their opposition to the Minister of Education, the Premier, and the members of the legislative assembly.
Albertan home schoolers can learn from a recent legislative victory in the United States, where home schoolers defeated a bill in Congress which would have required all teachers to be certified in the subjects they taught. This law would have virtually outlawed home schooling in the United States. Home school parents called, wrote, and faxed their opposition to Washington, D.C. The Congressmen responded to this constituent pressure, and dropped the proposal.
Alberta needs a similar effort now. Home schoolers need to let the government officials know of their opposition. As you make contact with officials and their staff, please be cordial and pleasant. Also, it is possible that some of the government offices will tell you that you are misinformed or mistaken in an attempt to intimidate you into a confused silence. There is no misinformation or mistake here. The Minister of Education is actively considering this testing requirement. The Minister will abandon this proposal only if home schoolers across the province make their voices heard. This is a challenge home schoolers must meet.
Saskatchewan: Purchase of Education Plans Not Required
The new home school regulations in Saskatchewan require parents to submit "a written educational plan for the students in the home-based education program." [E-0.1 REG 15, Section 8(4)(g)]. Some Saskatchewan home schoolers have erroneously believed that the new regulations require them to purchase an education plan from a private school or a commercial vendor to submit to the government. There is no legal requirement for parents to submit commercially-produced education plans to their boards of education. Home schoolers do not have to spend money on these commercially-produced plans unless they want to. Parents who prefer the convenience of a commercially-produced education plan, however, are free to use them under the regulations.
In order to comply with the regulations, parents can choose to submit the scope and sequence materials that they receive free from the curriculum publisher. Or the parents can simply go through the table of contents in the textbooks they are using and list the topics as educational objectives.