HSLDA’s Work and Impact on the New Legislation in Québec (Part 3 of 3)
By Jean jr. Landry, with contributions by Peter Stock, Megen Zelinka and Manon Fortin
The Homeschooling Regulation
On March 29, the draft Regulation was finally published. If Bill 144 had disappointed parent-educators, the accompanying Regulation added insult to injury with administrative requirements that we would rather avoid. HSLDA has always advocated for minimum state intervention since it was founded in the United States in the 1980s; and in this vein, HSLDA Canada has continued to strive throughout this legislative process. But, we must remember that the government has its own goals in aiming for more supervision of homeschooling. It also must consider the view of the opposition in the National Assembly and the various stakeholders participating in the Advisory Panel, some of which condone a much tighter state control.
Peter Stock, president of HSLDA Canada, emphasizes that we cannot expect to obtain everything we want, given the broad range of parties involved. Passing laws and regulations must occur in a democratic framework; therefore, the Minister of Education cannot endorse all the demands of parent-educators and refuse to listen to school boards and other organizations who are also lobbying to influence the new legislation’s outcome.
Despite the disappointment caused by the draft Regulation, HSLDA nonetheless rolled up its sleeves to develop new recommendations with a view to clarifying certain aspects of the text, and to diminish the administrative burden placed on parent-educators. These recommendations were recently submitted, so there is nothing more to do but wait for the final result.
Could We have Gained More?
As previously mentioned, the drafting of Bill 144 and the homeschool Regulation had to be completed in a democratic fashion. Realistically, a group of less than 1% of Québec parents can’t win against the powerful antagonistic forces that have a very different educational philosophy from ours. Nevertheless, we can celebrate because we will be able to continue to choose our educational approach and our children will not be evaluated the same way as those attending public or private school. Also, we hope that our latest recommendations on the regulations will be taken into consideration before finalizing.
That being said, could we have gained more? Could we have, for example, adopted a more radical and intransigent attitude to make the government concede even more? The question is relevant and it is normal to ask it. However, we believe the best approach has been exercised by HSLDA since the beginning, which is: informing, building awareness, and influencing authorities and political decision-makers by cultivating respectful and harmonious relations. The idea is not to be politically correct, but to demonstrate political diplomacy. It is partly because of this approach that HSLDA has established credibility with the Ministry of Education, has been asked to collaborate closely on the legislative process, and has achieved significant gains on behalf of parent-educators. An intractable approach on our part could perhaps have been perceived as heroic in the eyes of some parent-educators, but would have been counterproductive from a strategic point of view. Since the beginning of discussions with Minister Proulx, he has proven to be favorable towards homeschooling and it was particularly important to capitalize on this goodwill.
The Next Steps
– By June 1, the final version of the homeschooling Regulation will be passed.
– July 1, the regulation, as well as certain provisions of Bill 144 that were not yet in force, will come into effect.
– The guide on best homeschooling practices will be published on July 1, 2019.
As soon as the Regulation is published, HSLDA will prepare all the information and forms necessary to comply with the requirements of the new law. This documentation will be posted on the members’ site. Therefore, please ensure that you are an HSLDA member in good standing in order to access this section of our site. By July 1st, you will have easy access to all the information you need. You will also be informed about how to notify as well as the deadline for doing so. If you need assistance connecting to the members’ site, call (819) 909-6928 now to be able to access it when the documentation will be made available.
If you have never had to present an education plan to authorities, rest assured we will soon post articles to help you prepare. We are already collaborating with ACPEQ to develop a guide and samples that will assist you in fully preparing for back-to-school. On that note, it is not too late to register for the ACPEQ conference to be held June 8-9. Among others, they will present a workshop on preparing an education plan. You will also be updated on the most recent information regarding the homeschooling Regulation that will have officially been passed by then.
Everyone agrees that this coming year will be focussed on transition, adaptation and adjustment. “Homeschooling families have an important role to play,” reminds Manon Fortin, “to get the ball rolling with a positive attitude, and show what homeschooling looks like through our learning projects, our meetings, and our portfolios. “HSLDA is there to guide you, but it’s now up to you to take the floor!”