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News from the AQED Political and Public Action Committee

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News from the AQED Political and Public Action Committee at the outset of this new school year

Here is a summary of a recent discussion with the DEM:

Ministerial examinations

It’s hard to summarize all the points that were discussed. Essentially, will the exams happen? How will they work? Preparation, accommodations, passing? Lots of questions are so far without answers, except that the Schoolboards and Service Centers will be in charge on many points, which we find concerning. Of course, we will share the news as things progress. 

A clarification regarding what was discussed on our social networks a few days ago: the homeschooling regulations, which are available on the LégisQc government website, were not updated on July 1st as anticipated. When the 2019 amendments to the regulations were published, section 15.1 was scheduled to be added on July 1, 2021. This section was to introduce the requirement for homeschooling youth to take ministerial exams.

Although “no one is supposed to be ignorant of the law,” if a family was returning from a 2-year holiday and looking at today’s regulations for their rights and duties regarding home education, they would NOT see the supposed mandatory taking of ministerial exams. 

Furthermore, since an exam is given at the end of the school year, it must be prepared for throughout that year. Our current position is that even if the regulations are updated, the year has begun and it is inappropriate to change the requirements midstream.

Until this situation is resolved, we will not be modifying our learning project templates, unlike the DEM, which has included a section where the parent may state that their child is expected to take a Ministerial Exam.

However, to aim to be prepared if required, here are some basic suggestions:

  • Parents whose child has reached any of the following educational levels potentially requiring a ministerial exam (French: 4th, 6th, sec.2, 4 and 5 or English: 6th, sec. 4 and 5), which may or may not be the usual age-cycle in the school setting since we have the freedom to move at our child’s pace, could declare that their child will be a candidate. Alternatively, you could wait for your DEM contact person to ask you about it depending on what you think of the previous paragraph.
  • The SB/SS will have the responsibility to accept or not any requests for testing accommodations (extra time, use of writing or reading software, noise-canceling headphones, etc.). We therefore anticipate that, for some families, the situation will be anxiety-provoking and complicated (for example; refusal due to the lack of a professional diagnosis). We suggest that you keep track of all your requests and exchanges with the SB/SS and the DEM, that you ask your SB/SS as soon as possible, and that you involve your DEM contact person so that they may intervene and are aware of the situation. Also, if necessary, involve AQED’s support team as soon as possible in case of difficulties. When we are called upon late in the process, it is difficult for us to act.
  • The same advice applies to exam preparation activities and materials, which will also be managed by the SB/SS. It is inappropriate to give standardized tests to inadequately prepared youth. 

Remember that YOU are the parent educator and you know best what your child’s needs are!

Requests related to 20-21 portfolios

Some families have recently been invited by their DEM contact person to discuss the portfolio submitted in 20-21. This is an invitation only, which you may choose to decline or not, based on your needs.

Access to grants for home-educating families

Some grants for field trips are available to the school community, notably through the Culture in the Schools program. We have asked that family-educators be able to benefit from these grants to facilitate their educational and cultural outings.

Meeting with the Ministry of Education

Finally, Marie-Jo Demers, Director of AQED and Marine Dumond-Després had a discussion with a policy advisor of the Minister. They presented the above points regarding the ministerial exams. In addition, they discussed the following: 

  • The difficulties related to the sanctioning of studies experienced by our youth last year. We suggested several ways to improve the situation for this year: recognition of the grades issued by certain organizations or certified teachers, recognition of the work done throughout the school year, access to pertinent information and clarity of expectations – at the beginning of the year. As well as other challenges.
  • The inconsistency between: on one end; the 30-day deadline imposed on parents to submit changes to the DEM, when requested by their contact person, versus the unlimited timeframe for DEM reps to make such requests (e.g., some families are being asked for LP changes after they’ve submitted their assessment).

That’s it for the latest news. It is a lot of information, yet not enough – in light of the many challenges we are experiencing. We will be sure to keep you posted on developments.

Have a good start of the year!