EDMONTON, Alberta, 10 October, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new organization to strengthen parental rights and school choice has arisen in Alberta after the province nearly passed an Education Act earlier this year that threatened to compromise parents’ say in how their children are raised and educated.
A furor erupted in February after an assistant director of communications for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk told LifeSiteNews that under the bill even homeschooling families wouldn’t be allowed to teach their children that homosexual behavior is sinful. Lakuszuk subsequently backtracked, but concerns about the legislation and how it would impact parents’ rights remained.
Critics warned at the time that the bill would significantly weaken choice in education and forcibly move parents and their children towards a one-size-fits-all education system. Of particular concern was section 16 of the act, which mandated “diversity” education in all schools, including homeschools.
Those behind Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) say they believe that Albertans are best served by an education system that allows different kinds of schools to exist in Alberta and that allows parents to choose the type of school which best fits with their children’s needs.
“Alberta has one of the best education systems in the world, and choice has been a key driver of quality in our system,” says PCE’s executive director Garnett Genuis.
Genuis said the creation of PCE is a response to “forces in this province which are trying to roll back choice and parental authority.”
This year’s education bill, which was set to be rammed through by Alison Redford’s majority Progressive Conservative (PC) government — despite opposition by thousands of concerned parents who rallied at the Alberta Legislature — died in March before its third reading due to an election call.
But the PCE says it fears that the bill will be resurrected at the end of this month.
Rob Anderson, Wildrose Education critic, warned the Alberta Home Education Association in a letter last March that the PC party intended to resurrect the bill unchanged if they were to win the election – which they did.
“The PCs have decided they are committed to bringing this bill to the Legislature right after the election to pass,” wrote Anderson at that time.
The Alberta Home Education Association recently joined PCE’s ranks, saying they agred with organization’s commitment to be “actively involved in lobbying against changes which negatively affect parental authority in education and for positive changes to the same.”
PCE states on their website that they are committed to fighting for parental rights and to giving “voice to that too-often-silent majority of people who believe in school choice and parent authority.”
PCE is looking to increase their membership.
“Too often, supporters of a parental authority have only gotten themselves mobilized in response to a crisis,” says Genuis.
“Our goal is to mobilize proactively and to put forward positive proposals to improve the level of choice in Alberta’s education system. We cannot just sit back and wait for things to happen to us – we need to make things happen that are positive.”
PO Box 68147 Bonnie Doon
Edmonton, AB, T6C 4G0