I am encouraged with the recent news from the Harris government. There are some very positive things we have seen in the recent past.
1. Standardized Tests - As you can see from the announcements, Harris is high on standardized tests for all grades in the public school system. He has asked the independent schools to conduct these as well. However, he cannot make it mandatory except where accredited programs are offered. He can make it mandatory as a college or university entrance requirement in Ontario. There has been talk of the Grade 10 literacy and math tests to become so. We discussed these a couple of years ago at the "Successful Practices" guideline discussions. At that time, and it is in the comprehensive draft version, we requested that these be made available to the home schooling community for those who wished to use them if that direction was followed. This may be what is intended with this announcement.
2. Institutional Bias - This is the first that I have heard any government talk positively in public to the media about home schooling. I echo Barb's sentiments here that this is definitely a break through in attitude of the provincial government. Great to see. The removal of institutional bias should have positive effects on college and university admissions, dealing with social services, accessing school health support services and dealings with school boards. Now, none of this will occur overnight as change takes place gradually. It takes time to alter deeply entrenched mind sets of people. Habits take time to break.
To me these are some of the most positive times for home based education. Look at some of the things made available in the recent past:
1. The acceptance of General Educational Development (GED) testing administered by the ILC.
2. The extension of school health support services.
3. The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) coming into effect this fall.
4. The willingness of government to correspond and facilitate meetings with policy advisors.
As usual, with government concessions, there may be strings attached. We have to carefully monitor, examine and pursue all avenues open to us.