Talks with the Ministry of Education resumed on October 4th in Hamilton. In attendance were Jim Sebastian, Provincial School Attendance Counselor (PSAC), Pierce Thomas, president of the Ontario Association of Counseling and Attendance Services (OACAS), Glen Purcell, Scarborough attendance counselor, Des Brennan, attendance counselor from the Hamilton-Wentworth school board, Jack Barbibeau, Director from Home Schooling Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Jake Zwart, Secretary of the Ontario Christian Home Educators' Connection (OCHEC), Albert Lubberts, president of OFTP and me.
At this point in our discussions, we are waiting for Jim Sebastian to receive some direction from the Minister of Education regarding the draft document. This document was produced by the above mentioned people, during many meetings over the last year, who all have a vested interest in this issue. A portion of the draft document is included with this issue of Home Rules. (Note: the notification letter referred to in this document IS OPTIONAL.) Please understand that no one is expecting anyone to rush out and notify their local school board of their decision to home school their children. This is primarily a document which provides a procedure for parents who are: a) withdrawing their children from the public school system; b) for parents who are interested in developing a relationship with their local school board in order to have access to school resources; and c) for procedures to follow when an inquiry is called.
We need to appreciate that the discussions with ministry officials will only take us so far in our attempts to encourage consistency in the relationship between school board officials and home schooling families. Since it appears that discussions with the Ministry have reached a standstill, the executive committee decided, at a recent meeting on November 21st, to start a very important initiative. A package of information is being put together which will serve to educate the larger community about home schooling. The package will be targeted to attendance counselors at local school boards, trustees and MPPs initially .