In British Columbia, home-schooling parents who get online assistance from the public schools have been told they can’t use faith-based materials at home, even if they’re bought with the parents’ money. Even non-religious parents are threatening to pull out of the distance education program, which serves 6,800 students in the province. The Vancouver Sun reports:
Home-schooling parents are fuming after the B.C. Education Ministry ordered thousands of them to stop using faith-based materials — or any other “unofficial” resource — when teaching their children at home.
Parents were promised a link to experienced teachers and free books if they signed up with the online program. Children who met provincial learning standards would graduate with a certificate.
To encourage the electronic programs, the ministry boosted its per-pupil funding of distance-education students in public schools to the same level as regular students ($5,408 in 2003-04). Cash-hungry districts responded by aggressively courting home-schooling families.
The districts don’t want to lose their profits from the distance education students, who don’t really require much support. But now parents are deciding the help isn’t worth the loss of independence.
“I’m definitely not going back and I don’t know anyone who is,” said Anita Kosovic, who has two children in U-Connect. Although her family isn’t religious, she said she doesn’t want to be held to B.C.-approved resources, some of which she says are awful.
“I don’t think anyone should be able to tell me what I can do in my own home and that’s what they’re telling us.”
Frankly, I don’t see how districts possibly could “ensure that students are not using religious materials or resources as part of the educational program.” It’s an Orwellian idea. And what about all those children who attend public schools? Their parents also may be using unauthorized or religious teaching materials at home. They may be trying to teach the parents’ values and beliefs. Can’t have that.