Government and Advocacy Updates
Alberta Education Bill 15 Leglislation Changes
Bill 15 passed third reading and received Royal Assent on June 26! It will be implemented on Sept 1, 2020
Bill 15 adds the following to the Preamble of the Education Act:
WHEREAS parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that may be provided to their children;
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta recognizes public schools, separate schools, Francophone schools, private schools, charter schools, early childhood services programs and home education programs as being valued and integral in providing choice in education to students and parents;
Bill 15 removes the legal requirement for a home education program to be "under the supervision of a board or the person responsible for the operation of a private school accredited under section 29(2)". This means that the home education program will not be supervised, or funded, and the family will not receive any school board support or help with home education either.
Bill 15 will give parents and caregivers another option (in addition to the present option of home education notification, supervision from a school authority, filing a home education plan, and $850 funding per child) of providing yearly notification directly to a feild services director of the government, who has the power to terminate the home education program as he/she sees fit as well as the power to determine if the child is receiving an education that meets the basic goals of education. This new program is called NONF - Notification Only, No Funding.
Rest assured that families that want funding, supervision and support, will still have that option to be under the supervision of a school authority.
Alberta Homeschooling Assocation encouraged parents to file the Alberta Government survey on choice in education, and we are pleased that the Alberta Government has responded to our Association's request for more home education options.
Alberta Education Funding Changes
Kindergarten parents! New as of September 18, 2020! For this year only, children who are 5 years, 6 months, by Sept 1, may register for Grade 1 Home Education as well as classroom. Your child must be 6 years old by the end of February 2021 to start Grade 1 in Fall of 2020. If under Home Education, the child can register in Grade 1 this year (because there is no Home Education Kindergarten and may officially begin Grade 1 next Fall 2021.
The updated Funding Manual for 2020-2021 was released from Alberta Education on June 18, 2020 and the following major changes affect Home Education, Shared Responsibility, and Distance Education (teacher-directed, print-based, BlendEd and online).
Home education funding will increase to $1700 in which $850 goes to the student to offset the cost of resources.
Parents still have two years to access this funding.
In order to reduce the red tape, parents need only submit 75% ($637.50 of the $850.00) of receipts in order to receive full funding.
Parents can sign a declaration form to give some of their share of funding back to the school authority.
Any home education funding not claimed will revert back to Alberta Education.
Shared Responsibility will be offered but structured differently. The Grade 1-9 Shared Responsibilty subject split will be the same as the current high school model of 20% to 80% of subjects to be either parent responsible or school responsible. If the school delivers less than 20% of programming, the student will be coded 100% home education. If the parent delivers less than 20% of the home education program, the student will be coded 100% school/distance education. It used to be required that 50% of the Shared subjects were taught by the School.
The school may also dip into the home education $850 portion to offset the costs of teacher instruction on the school responsible Shared Responsibility portion. The parents must give signed permission to do this.
If your school board has chosen to not offer Shared Responsibility any longer, ask them to explain the numbers to you.
The high school Shared Responsibility rate will be partial-block funding (instead of Credit Enrollment Units) based on the year of the student (1,2,3,4,or 5th year high school student), the amount of credits taken, and the number of students the school registers. For full funding, students must take 35 credits in years 1,2, and 3. Students must take 18 credits in years 4 and 5.
Reimbursements to parents of students in a Home Education or Shared Responsibility program, may not exceed $850.00 in value per year and are subject to the same reimbursement interpretations as the Standards for Home Education Reimbursement (https://open.alberta.ca/publications/standards-for-home-education-reimbursement), whether they are reimbursements, ordered by purchase order or directly procured by school or district.
School authorities are not permitted to provide funding, whether reimbursement, purchase order or direct procurement, to students or families in cases where a student is enrolled in an online or regular school program or the school portion of a Shared Responsibility program.
The Shared Responsibility funding change will eliminate the practice of public school authorities using instructional grant funding, to give to parents in the form of incentives (lessons, technology, items) to "teach" the school portion of the Shared Responsibility program instead of the intended purpose of the Instructional grant funding which is to pay teachers to teach. According to the Education Act, parents are not allowed to teach any school provided programs including teacher-directed, online, paper-based resource, or the school portion of a Shared Responsibility program. Only certificated teachers can teach distance education.
Source: Funding Manual June 2020
The Home Education and Shared Responsibilty guidelines are the same for both public and independent school systems to ensure a fairer playing field in terms of offering instruction and resource support to families.
The only guideline that is different is that Home Education students in accredited funded private schools are not eligible for severe disabilities funding that is offered to publicly funded schools.(The rationale is not provided.)
All school authorities may offer online and print-based programs which is Distance Education or home-based schooling. ADLC used to be the major provider of Distance Education, but with the growth of home-based instruction, many schools are now offering it. Next year, schools will be required to provide evidence of daily, scheduled, synchronous instruction for students in grades 1-9 Distance Education and Shared Responsibility programs. This would ensure that parents do not have to teach the school-responsible portion of the Shared Responsibility nor have to teach the Distance Education online or print-based programs. Interaction would be between the teacher and the student only.
On Distance Education programs, student participation in Provincial Acheivement Tests would have to meet a minimum count.
For this year only, children who are 5 years, 6 months, by Sept 1, may register for Grade 1 Home Education as well as classroom. Your child must be 6 years old by the end of February 2021 to start Grade 1 in Fall of 2020. If under Home Education, the child can register in Grade 1 this year (because there is no Home Education Kindergarten and may officially begin Grade 1 next Fall 2021.
80% of home education families register with Private Schools
Private Schools Save Taxpayer Money
Private Schools Serve the Public Good