FYI on correspondence sent to SECPSD

Several of our members have contacted us with concerns about recent communication from Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD). To keep you informed, SHBE has corresponded electronically and over the phone with SECPSD this week. SHBE has written the following correspondence:

​​​​​Hello Maryanne,

One of our members forwarded your email to us (attached below), and I wanted to respond to you directly. I appreciate that we have had some very open and productive discussions in the past. We have discussed how it is in everyone’s best interests for both homeschoolers and school divisions to follow the provincial homeschooling regulations and policies as outlined in the policy manual.

To that end, I have to let you know that asking randomly chosen families for “work samples/projects/test results” goes beyond what is allowable in the policy manual. In fact, there is no requirement for homeschooling parents to keep or share work samples. The periodic log and a summative assessment satisfy the requirements of a portfolio.

I want to direct your attention to these sections of the policy manual (pp. 20-21):

  • When monitoring registered home-based education programs, the registering board of education/conseil scolaire official shall assume that the home-based learners are making satisfactory educational progress unless there is evidence to the contrary.
  • If the registering authority determines that the home-based educator has failed to provide, in the annual student progress report, information agreed to in the written education plan, the registering authority shall give the home-based educator written notice and the details of the non-compliance.
  • If the registering authority gives the home-based educator notice and details of non-compliance related to the annual student progress report, the home-based educator must provide the information or otherwise rectify the non-compliance within 15 days of receiving the written notice.
  • The intent of the regulations and policies is to prescribe the maximum legal responsibilities of boards of education/conseil scolaire and the maximum legal requirements of home-based educators.

It is quite clear in the policy manual that the only manner of requesting further information from home educating parents is for them to receive written notification that they are not in compliance with the regulations. And that parents have 15 days to provide further information.

In your email, you express your expectation of being audited by the Ministry of Education. When the Provincial Auditor audited Prairie Valley School Division and their relationship with home-based learners, the concern was that all paperwork as required in the regulations be collected and retained by the school division. There was no indication of a need to “audit” families who faithfully provide this information. I am forwarding a copy of this email to Lynne Sheldon at the Ministry of Education for her advice on this.

I believe so very strongly that it is in everyone’s best interests for homeschoolers and school divisions to follow the policy manual.

When homeschoolers do not comply with the policy manual, the school division cannot fulfill your interest in ensuring all children receive an education which was outlined in the Supreme Court decision which made homeschooling legal in Canada.

And when school divisions do not comply, they implement barriers to home education that infringe on the parents’ “right to direct their children’s education at and from their home in accordance with their conscientious beliefs, subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” Saskatchewan Education, Advisory Committee on Home-based Education, Final Report to the Deputy Minister of Education, Volume I, Oct 1992, p. 34.

SHBE will provide this information to our members who will determine how they wish to proceed.

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