Gateway Gazette

Protecting Choice in Education

Bill 15, the Choice in Education Act, will protect choice within Alberta’s robust and diverse education system.

Premier Jason Kenney and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange speak about the Choice in Education Act.

If passed, the bill will amend the Education Act to affirm that parents have the right to choose the kind of education they feel is best for their children. It will strengthen Alberta’s successful history of education choice, including public and separate schools, Francophone schools, charter schools, independent schools, home education and early childhood education.

“We committed to Albertans that our government would introduce a Choice in Education Act to affirm that parents have the primary right to choose the education their children receive. Parents, not politicians, know what is best for their kids, and our government is committed to delivering an excellent, world-class education that will equip them for life.”Jason Kenney, Premier

Bill 15 also proposes enhancements to education choice. If passed, the Choice in Education Act will create more options for parents to deliver home education to their children, and will allow for the establishment of charter schools that expressly focus on vocation-based education.

“We are committed to offering a number of education options that allow parents to select the path they feel will best help their children reach their full potential. I am proud to say that Alberta is the leader in choice available to families, and provides parents with more opportunities for their children’s education than anywhere else in Canada.”Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

The proposed Choice in Education Act:

  • Amends the preamble of the Education Act to include recognition of Section 26.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
  • Protects parental choice while ensuring a strong public education system by indicating support for all types of schooling.
  • Supports the creation of new charter schools, including vocation-focused charter schools.
  • Protects the status and funding of independent schools.
  • Provides new options for parents who choose to home-school their children.

“Alberta’s choice-based school system is recognized as being a world leader in providing high quality education. The Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta welcomes the introduction of the Choice in Education Act, which provides further legislative clarity and recognition of the diverse learning options within the system and affirms the integral role of parents as the primary decision makers in their children’s education.”Simon Williams, president, Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta

“In these extraordinary times, this proposed legislation is yet another recognition of the integral contribution education makes to the health of Alberta. As promised, the proposed act is built with broad involvement, is based on a deep history of results, and calls all Albertans to engage fully in giving Alberta youth the strongest possible advantage.”Ron Koper, chair, The Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools

“Parental choice being enshrined within the Education Act as promised, and home education being equally acknowledged as an option for families deciding which education model they feel best suits each individual child, is a welcome step forward. Expansion of delivery to include notification only, with no funding, has long been a goal of our organization and we are gratified to have been heard clearly by Minister LaGrange and her department, with action resulting in this important bill.”Shawna Sundal, government liaison, Alberta Home Education Association

Alberta Education has also released a summary report of the Choice in Education survey, which reflects the responses from more than 50,000 Albertans who shared their views on education choice during a public survey that ran in late 2019.

If passed, Bill 15 will come into force on Sept. 1.

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