EDMONTON, Alberta, November 14, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-family organization in Alberta is warning parents that an upcoming meeting of the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) will push for government mandated full time kindergarten, and will look at policies intended to combat so-called “homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism” in schools.
Garnett Genuis, Executive Director of Parents for Choice in Education, said the November 18-20th meeting of the ASBA will call for mandated fully-funded half-time kindergarten programming to exist everywhere in Alberta, and for mandated fully-funded full-time kindergarten to be imposed on children deemed “at-risk.”
Genuis argues that “there is no good evidence that full-time kindergarten provides any benefits.”
He cited a study commissioned by the Edmonton Public School Board which concluded, “The diminishing academic ‘returns’ of full-day kindergarten are not entirely surprising.”
“Starting with the grade four school year HLAT results, it is clear that any advantage offered to children by their full-day kindergarten experience was vastly reduced” said the study, because “full-day kindergarten cannot be expected to support children’s learning throughout their educational careers.”
The pro-family organization also argued that mandating kindergarten takes autonomy away from parents and that the motion would impose greater limitations and restriction on families deemed ‘at risk’, specifically poorer families and those from minority communities, which the group says is unfair.
Genuis notes that if parents want their children in a full-day program that is their right, but there is a difference between funding education and funding childcare.
“In our view,” Genuis states, “full day kindergarten is more about childcare than about education, so the government shouldn’t fund it with dollars that could otherwise go to classrooms where that extra injection of money would actually make a real difference to student outcomes, in those primary years where students are learning reading, math, and other basic things that they need to know.”
Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of Canada Family Action, said he believes that mandatory kindergarten is nothing short of a state takeover of parenting.
“Most parents do not want their children in those very young years to be taken from them and forced into a state institution,” Rushfeldt told LifeSiteNews.
Rushfeldt pointed out that mandatory kindergarten “is a violation of the rights of parents that supposedly was to be included in the new Alberta Education Act.
“This is a deceptive way of ‘educates’ to prevent parents from teaching foundational principals of family, religion and socialization,” he said.
The second item on the ASBA meeting agenda that Parents for Choice in Education is concerned about is a discussion on strategy to “work proactively to address a pervasive school-wide culture of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.”
“Our organization supports efforts to combat bullying, including the bullying of LGBT individuals,” Garnett Genuis states. However, he added that any policies undertaken must not be interpreted to undermine the ability of Christian or other alternative programs to talk about their religious teachings on homosexual issues.
“The motion being considered by the ASBA does not contain clear safe-guards,” Genuis says. “Without the appropriate safeguards, this motion raises some clear concerns.”
Canada Family Action, which is mobilizing opposition to both of the proposals from the ASBA, says that the constant focus on homosexual and other sexual “orientations” is creating division and conflict rather than the “safe schools” environment envisioned by the educational bureaucracy.
“Instead of applying policy which treats all students equally, the school policies have created divisive policies which set children up for discrimination,” Rushfeldt said.
“Children who do not cater to or agree with homosexual behavior have become targets. Kids who are homosexual ‘oriented’ have become targets,” he said. “That defeats what education experts say they want to accomplish. The real purpose of such LBGT policy is to promote every sexual behavior except normal heterosexual behavior.”
Parents for Choice in Education and Canada Family Action are urging parents and concerned individuals to contact their school board trustees to share their concerns about these issues before the trustees convene for the ASBA Fall General Meeting, November 18-20, at the Westin Hotel in Edmonton.
“It is very important that trustees hear from us before they vote,” Garnett Genuis states.
Full details on all of the policies to be discussed by the ASBA are available here.
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Alberta School Boards Association
David Anderson, Executive Director
Suite 1200, 9925 – 109 Street Edmonton, AB T5K 2J8