The Saskatchewan government should have new home school administrative regulations in place by the end of the summer, and at present, it looks like the regulations will respect the rights of home schoolers.
“What is happening in Saskatchewan is the most significant thing happening in Canada currently for home schoolers,” said Jordan Lorence, the Home School Legal Defense Association attorney who spent three days in Saskatchewan in mid-February meeting with government officials who are working on the new regulations. HSLDA believes that the Department of Education is very sensitive to the concerns expressed by home schoolers and is responding constructively to their concerns.
The new regulations will culminate a long, and at times controversial, process in Saskatchewan to rewrite the provincial law. The former government organized an advisory committee to examine the issue of home-schooling law in Saskatchewan. Last October, the advisory committee issued its report outlining the principles the committee thought the government should follow in drafting the new regulations.
The advisory committee’s report engendered some controversy among home schoolers in Saskatchewan. In January, HSLDA issued a report listing some concerns about the report. Although there was debate on the merits of the advisory committee report, it soon became clear to many that the government was responding to home schoolers’ concerns in drafting new regulations, and that is where home schoolers should focus their attention. The regulations, not the advisory committee report, would govern home schooling in Saskatchewan.
In February 1993, HSLDA met with government officials about the proposed regulations, and was pleased with what the government said. HSLDA was told that the regulations would contain provisions such as:
- Home schoolers would file a notice of intent;
- Standardized testing would not be mandatory;
- Government officials could not conduct home visits without the consent of the home school families.
The first draft of the actual regulations will be completed sometime in the spring. The government will solicit feedback from home school leaders before the regulations are formally approved. The final version of the regulations would go into effect before the school year begins in the fall.
HSLDA is urging home schoolers in Saskatchewan to support this process. There is no need to raise a public outcry, because, at this point, it seems that the government will enact regulations that will respect the rights of home schoolers in Saskatchewan. The government will write new regulations; home schoolers need to work together to make sure the regulations are the best they can be.