Unique Advantages of Alberta’s and British Columbia’s Laws
Home schoolers living in Alberta and British Columbia have a unique advantage under their provincial home school laws. If local school officials impose too many regulatory demands, parents may remove their children from the school system altogether and enroll them in another school—even one that is hundreds of miles away.
In these two provinces, the government money for the child’s education is paid to the school that is instructing him. This gives home school parents some financial leverage against burdensome home school restrictions.
For example, parents in Alberta may enroll their children with a “willing non-resident [school] board.” A Catholic school district in Oyen has increased its finances by urging home schoolers to enroll with its district. The school officials in this district promise few restrictions on home schoolers due to their desire for the government funds.
When faced with restrictive requirements imposed by local school officials, many home school families in these provinces are voting with their feet and switching to willing, non-resident boards to oversee their home schooling. This financial clout has helped home schoolers in Alberta and British Columbia fight overly-restrictive school district regulations by local school districts.
Carl and Clotilde Gagon of Gatineau, Quebec, contacted HSLDA after school officials attempted to reserve the right to demand multiple tests of their children throughout the school year. Michael Farris contacted the school officials on the family’s behalf, and was able to convince them that one test per year was a reasonable interpretation of the law.
The Gagons also asked HSLDA about the provision in the law regarding who was authorized to test the children. According to the English translation of the law, testing was to be done by or for the school district. This wording could imply that parents could have their children tested independently and simply submit the scores to the school district. After reading the French version of the law, however, Michael Farris realized that the more accurate interpretation states that testing is done by or at the request of the school district. Details of the test administration were clearly placed under the school district’s jurisdiction.
The fledgling HSLDA of Canada reached a major milestone in June when it surpassed 100 members! The staff ate a Canadian-bacon-and-pineapple pizza to celebrate. The goal is for HSLDA of Canada to grow to be a self-sustaining organization, and Michael Farris estimates that this can occur when the membership reaches 2,000 members.
Jordan Lorence, one of the HSLDA attorneys who has been specializing in Canadian home school law, will speak at the Gregg Harris Home School Workshop, October 23-24, 1992, in Ottawa, Ontario.