AQED understands that the government is committed to the quality of education for all children in Quebec. AQED believes that the best way to achieve this goal is to provide a tailor-made education. The draft regulation amending the initial regulation governing homeschooling in Quebec therefore seems to AQED to be very ill-advised in this regard.
In its brief on this subject submitted to the Minister of Education today, the Association québécoise pour l'éducation à domicile (AQED) welcomes the fact that this draft regulation specifies that school boards must take the necessary measures to allow the recognition of units for which there are no ministerial examinations. However, the facts do not justify the need to amend the current regulations to increase control over homeschooling.
This project is skipping through many stages and its objective is not clear. It does not concretely address the problem of “illegal schools,” and the possible use of the Direction de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ – Director of Youth Protection) to resolve educational conflicts at home is not desirable. In addition, several scientific studies on the impact of interventions on home education suggest that these regulations will not increase the educational success rate.
The imposition of exams is contrary to best practices in education and the imposition of the progression des apprentissages (PDA – progression of learning) of the Programme de formation de l'école québécoise (PFÉQ) is not the only valid way to provide a quality education, nor the only way to ensure that a child receives an adequate education. Moreover, the PDA is often not appropriate for children with special challenges. The imposition of examinations and of the PDA also runs counter to certain moral convictions. It should also be noted that families do not have the necessary state support to successfully comply with this regulation. It is therefore very likely that it will lead to an increased number of conflicts, cases at the DPJ, referrals of cases to the court, and educational failures. The AQED recommends:
1. Reinstating the Table de concertation and beginning a consultation process with the stakeholders concerned to clearly identify the desired objectives for the homeschooling program in Québec, study the results of this transition year, objectively document any gaps, and identify different ways to address them.
2. Delaying the implementation of this proposed regulation at least until the government develops resources comparable to those in Alberta or France to support homeschooling families in following the PFÉQ: online courses, distance courses and/or the creation and distribution to families of resources (books and educational resources) that cover 100% of the Québec program.
3. Maintainingchoice in the form of evaluation, even if it means increasing the evaluation criteria for the options already available, without adding the obligation to undergo a specific form of evaluation.
4. Not imposing 100% of the content of each subject, but rather identifying which elements of the PFÉQ are essential (e.g., competencies).
The brief is available (in French) at the following location : http://bit.ly/MemoireAQED