BCHLA Press Release, April 2004
Due to media coverage of home-based learning options in BC on Thursday, April 22, 2004, BCHLA issues the following statement:
BCHLA is an advocacy group whose purpose is to maintain and uphold the rights of homeschoolers in British Columbia via Sections 12/13 of the B.C. School Act. The government definition of ‘homeschooler’ is a child who is registered under the afore-mentioned sections of the Act with either a public, independent, or Distance Education school. A ‘student’ who is enrolled in a public school DL (Distributed Learning) program must follow the requirements as outlined by the Distance Ed Policy.
With respect to a letter which was recently released, dated April 14, 2004, originating from a U-Connect DL participant and forwarded to a number of people within the Ministry, BCHLA would like to clarify that our organization neither agrees with nor supports these actions or the argument that is cited regarding the public DL programs.
BCHLA respects the numerous educational options that our province provides and in no way challenges the School Act as it stands.
While it is regrettable that some families enrolled with public school DL programs were not aware or were not made aware of their legal status according to legislation and policy which was enacted two years ago, BCHLA cannot advocate on behalf of these families to the Ministry as it falls outside of our mandate and legal boundaries. See our Positional Statement for details.
Those families who wish to use religious materials for the basis of their educational program have three educational options available for them. See Educational Options in BC for details.
Those families who wish to be their child’s primary teacher or to have complete autonomy in their children’s education are given that option by the Ministry through registration under Section 12 of the BC School Act.
To clear up the confusion surrounding these issues, it would be most helpful to use the following terms when referring to registration or enrollment options:
To state your intent to the government that you will be educating your children autonomously in accordance with Sections 12 and 13 of the B.C. School Act.
To have a child participate, at school or at home, in an educational program provided by a public or independent school and administered by a B.C. certified teacher.
A Child registered under Section 12/13 of the B.C. School Act.
Home-Based Student, or simply, Student:
A child enrolled in a distance education/distributed learning (DL) program, provided by a public or independent school.
Proper terminology ensures clear communications and good understanding between parties. It will ensure that potential home educators will make well-informed decisions based on easily understandable and factual information.
BCHLA submits that BC legislation allows for many different educational options. Choosing any of the options then implies that the family will be subject to the specific requirements and stipulations of the option chosen. If the requirements or stipulations are not suitable to a family, they have other options to choose from.
The option that Section 12 of the Act affords all BC residents gives authority and control of a child’s education program to the parents alone, without government interference. BCHLA will continue to uphold and support this part of the School Act as a viable educational option in BC.
-BCHLA Board of Directors