Canadian Province Imposing “Diversity Training” on Homeschools
By: Thomas Lukaszuk
February 27, 2012
A new education act in the Canadian province of Alberta is poised to impose political correctness on families—even those who teach their own children in their own homes.
The legislative proposal known as Bill 2 in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta would explicitly require that all instructional materials “reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.” The bill further requires not only public schools, but also private schools and homeschools to comply with these requirements (§ 1 “interpretation of school”).
LifeSiteNews reports that the Human Rights Act has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, particularly those espousing traditional views on homosexuality. However, this is a first-of-its-kind attempt by a government to control what families teach in the area of values and beliefs in their own home. Allowing the government to exert this kind of power and influence could be very restrictive and permit extremely intrusive invasions of family privacy.
Donna McColl, assistant director of communications for Minister of Education Thomas Lukaszuk, explained the bill’s intent Wednesday evening in an interview with LifeSiteNews. “Whatever the nature of schooling—homeschool, private school, Catholic school—we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” McColl said.
“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life; you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.
Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) of Canada explains, “Basically what it would mean is all learning that goes on in the home, all material that goes on in the home, would essentially be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act. The Ministry of Education is clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes.”
Homeschoolers in Canada wonder how parents are to share any of their own religious beliefs with their children without fearing the “political correctness police.”
In Canada, homeschooling is regulated at the provincial level. Alberta already has more stringent regulations than the majority of other provinces, requiring a notice of intent and extensive monitoring which includes two evaluations by the supervising board each year.
HSLDA of Canada urges homeschoolers in Alberta and other Canadian provinces to contact Minister of Education Lucaszuk and their member of the Legislative Assembly and ask that the law be amended.
Michael Donnelly, director of international relations at HSLDA in the United States, says the bill brings into question the province’s commitment to freedom of education.
“Alberta’s attempt to consolidate control over homeschools and private schools, in addition to public schools, is shocking,” states Donnelly. “Religious or philosophical beliefs are some of the most fundamental reasons that parents choose to homeschool their children, yet Bill 2 seeks to control which values homeschooling parents may teach their children. A government that can dictate the content of learning that occurs inside the home has eliminated freedom of education and thereby has gone a long ways down the road of totalitarianism—the antithesis of freedom.”