Petition update

NEWS UPDATES: Choice in Education!

Theresa Ng
Edmonton, Canada

Jan 7, 2017 — Hello everyone!

Three news updates to share with you…

1. RE: TRINITY/WISDOM HOMESCHOOLING

Great news this past week! In October I posted an update regarding the government's alarmingly abrupt closure of Trinity Christian School Association, which directly affected over 3 500 homeschooling students.

Here are excerpts from the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) website posted on January 4th and 6th with background info and an update:

Jan. 4th: “On October 25, 2016, the Ministry of Education removed the accreditation from Trinity Christian School, thus effectively closing WISDOM Homeschooling.

Trinity/WISDOM launched court proceedings in opposition to this closure and was successful on November 4, 2016 in getting an interim injunction to that Trinity/WISDOM could continue to operate albeit without funding.

A further hearing was set for January 5th, 2017 to determine if the injunction should be continued and funding restored”

Jan 6th: “An agreement was reached yesterday between the province of Alberta and Trinity Christian School, the operator of WISDOM Home Schooling.

The Trinity Christian School Association will continue to be registered and accredited – and operate with full funding – under an agreement reached in court on January 5.

Trinity will continue to be responsible for the WISDOM program, and Trinity/ WISDOM expect that day-to-day operations will continue so that home educating families should see no disruption or change in service.

AHEA is thankful that Trinity/WISDOM will continue to operate and to serve Alberta home educating students and families.”

According to a Facebook post from a parent who was in the court room on Thursday (Leandra Balisky Loewen), the judge “directed his strongest words at AB Education and condemned them for, in the judges' words, their "smear campaign" against Trinity. He cited their reporting Trinity had spent tax payers money on funeral expenses when it was a 4.47 card bought for the family of one of their teachers who passed away. The judge shook his head and intently stared at the AB Education bench. Their lawyer stood and said she had nothing to reply. The judge spent some time admonishing both groups they should have come to a reasonable conclusion before the legal action. He concluded with, "Do what's best for the kids".

As pointed out in an Edmonton Journal column by Graham Thomson, as well as an excellent video from Brian Holdsworth – a dad whose family was directly impacted by the Trinity/WISDOM closure – Alberta Education owes Albertans some explanations and apologies:

http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/graham-thomson-something-doesnt-add-up-in-governments-handling-of-home-schooling-association

https://www.facebook.com/1274463445925204/videos/1275439592494256/

2. RE: INDEPENDENT BAPTIST CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS
This petition was originally started to address the threat of removing funding for Christian schools that are refusing to implement specific practices on sexual orientation and gender identity that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

We are still awaiting a resolution to this situation. Prior to Christmas a CBC news report stated that “an inquiry report into two Edmonton-area Baptist schools which refuse to allow gay straight alliances in school has been completed” and “results will soon be shared with the public”. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/inquiry-report-complete-into-edmonton-area-baptist-schools-which-refuse-gsas-1.3890478

Please stay tuned and I will let you know when news is released.

3. TELEPHONE TOWN-HALL on “THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION IN ALBERTA”
I continue to reach out to politicians of all major parties in order to represent the concerns of the thousands of people who have signed this petition.

So far the only one who has responded by meeting with me specifically about these concerns is Jason Kenney, who is a candidate running for leadership of the PC party.

He wants to hear more directly from you about your concerns and provide his stance on these educational issues so he is hosting a telephone town-hall on Monday January 9th specifically focused on "The Future of Education in Alberta".

I encourage you to get involved as it is a convenient and worthwhile opportunity to be informed and engaged. As demonstrated by the Trinity/WISDOM experience, it is extremely important for all of us to actively defend authentic educational choice and keep the government accountable. The numbers who register and participate in these types of events help to demonstrate to politicians how many people in the province care about these educational issues.

Just sign-up with your name and phone number using the registration link provided in the article below. Your phone will ring on Monday night so you can listen in and perhaps even get to ask your own question directly to Jason.

Feel free to pass along the link to others you know who may be interested in the opportunity. There is also a video on Facebook from Jason Kenney inviting Albertans to sign up: https://www.facebook.com/kenneyjasont/videos/10154876831902641/

So far there is still no word from Brian Jean of the Wildrose or the Minister of Education David Eggen responding specifically to the concerns of this petition or my request to meet with them. Hopefully they will step up and recognize that the concerns represented in this petition must still be addressed.

Thank you for your continued support in advocating for authentic educational choice in our province!

Sincerely,
Theresa


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