Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

EDMONTON — The Alberta government is proposing to change the rules on charter schools and home-schooling.

Bill 15 introduced Thursday would allow a group seeking to establish a new charter school to bypass the local school board and apply directly to the government.

“The Choice in Education Act will protect and expand student access to the full range of schooling options while strengthening parents’ rights as primary decision makers in choosing their kids’ education,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

“The bill also reduces red tape for the creation of new charter schools including vocation-focused charter schools.

“We are paving the way to reinvent the vocational high school because we believe as Albertans that practical and experiential learning like vocational learning can prepare young people for fulfilling lifetime careers.”

Charter schools are independently run, non-profit public schools that provide education in a different or enhanced way, such as an all-girls school or a school for the academically gifted.

Alberta has 13 charter schools, most in Edmonton and Calgary.

Kenney’s government lifted the long-standing cap on charter schools last year.

The bill would also allow unsupervised, unfunded home-schooling. Home-schooling parents would have to submit a plan to achieve an acceptable appropriate level of learning outcomes.

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said the bill misses the mark and furthers a government agenda to bleed resources from public schools.

“What Alberta parents are telling me they want is a properly funded education system with a modern curriculum and with no barriers to education,” said Hoffman.

Jason Schilling, head of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the legislation doesn’t do much to improve school for most students but said he is pleased the bill doesn’t introduce a voucher system for private schools.

“Parents in Alberta already have significant choice, and the vast majority choose public education,” said Schilling.

“In Alberta, public education includes schools in public, separate and francophone school divisions; 93 per cent of Alberta’s students attend those schools. We believe that parents and teachers want to see those students supported most.”

On home-schooling, Schilling said, “unsupervised home education should be a concern to all Albertans. A child’s right to a quality education must not be sacrificed in the name of parental choice.”

If passed, the bill would take effect Sept. 1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Education

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fear of foreign worker shortage impacts veggie production

Innisfail-area grower cut back vegetables that need to be hand picked by one-third

Red Deer singer weathers natural disasters to create an upbeat new tune

Alecia Aichelle says you have to seek out the positives — even under lockdown

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 49-year-old woman

Red Deer RCMP are looking to verify the well-being of Tracey Church.… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Lethbridge police chief says officers surveilling cabinet minister inexcusable

Alta. — The head of the Lethbridge Police Service in southern Alberta… Continue reading

Sources say Canada, U.S. travel ban likely to continue into late August

WASHINGTON — Canada and the United States are now widely expected to… Continue reading

Manitoba sees first new COVID-19 cases in two weeks

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s 13-day streak without new COVID-19 infections ended Tuesday as… Continue reading

B.C.’s budget surges to $12.5 billion deficit because of pandemic

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s balanced budget has been shattered by the COVID-19… Continue reading

Maxwell denied bail on Epstein-related sex abuse charges

NEW YORK — Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, will remain behind… Continue reading

Monahan, Lindholm, Gaudreau await reunion at Calgary Flames camp

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates continued into the second… Continue reading

Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students

BOSTON — Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities,… Continue reading

Trump signs bill, order rebuking China, and slams Biden

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation and an executive… Continue reading

Most Read