Who Says… School Boards Honestly Acquire Funding?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-03-02.

Money is an unsavory topic that we usually want to avoid discussing. Unfortunately, this often results in our turning the blind eye to its misuse.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 1 Tim. 6-10

Last week, I explained home education funding from the taxpayer’s perspective and that it is indeed, not only a big saving to have more students educated at home, but that they, on average, get better results than their public school counterparts. I also shared that the greatest grief of my education career has always been centered on the “creative” ways student funding was acquired. This week, I want to more fully explain this funding within the context of home education with the understanding that not all school boards are dishonest or greedy.

Before I begin to share my concerns regarding the negative effects funding has had on home education, let me emphatically state that I am not against the proper use of money, nor am I against government making provision for helping parents who have chosen to educate their children at home, nor do I condemn providers that access it, nor parents who accept it. However, two very important points are assumed when making this statement. The first is that the government simply wants to be fair in its treatment of all the children of this province by making some funding available to parents desiring to educate their children at home. The second is that both home educators and providers are careful in accepting and using these funds in an appropriate fashion. Unfortunately, both assumptions are just that, assumptions and not reality.

There are really only two major considerations related to home education funding: the number of students and the level of funding. If only the lowest level of funding, and the fact that it follows the students, is considered, home education providers can be tempted to offer all sorts of things to attract more parents and their students, some even without regard for proper ethics. Even when only a minimum level of funding is accepted, the potential for abuse is still a concern since whenever any part of any given group is judged as unethical, all within that group are condemned as such, even when the association is only remotely connected. We may have observed a first hand example of such over the issue of congregate schools.

The second position of potential abuse has to do with increased levels of funding for increased levels of public programming. In a nutshell, government desires to see every student in the province follow their one-size-fits-all programming and are willing to pay to see this applied to home education. This is likely the main reason it funds home education at all. Combined with a fundamental, natural human desire for more, home education providers “encourage” greater student use of public programming which, while being advanced as of benefit to the child, results in more funding income for the provider. Although increased funding may be “shared” with the parents, it is never a fair division, nor is it always fully divulged or truthfully administered.

If I was to share what I have seen happen to the home education community over the past twenty-five years, it would take a lot more space than this week’s blog and you would be disgusted! The tricks, ploys and promises used to attract parents and students defy Christian sensibilities while the government’s offering of greater levels of funding for greater levels of state programming, has led to the near ubiquitous acceptance of it’s delivery. Where I once saw colleagues, I now see compromisers.

State programming, once avoided at all cost, is now being offered in a variety of creative ways by organizations, which were, not many years ago, traditional only. Blended programming, fully aligned programming, and high school accreditation programming are not only offered by nearly every home education provider today, but sometimes outside of the clearly defined rules regarding their delivery. My personal experience within the school system saw a great deal of dishonesty when it came to billing government for programs not actually being delivered as prescribed, or at all, for that matter. I find it hard to believe just how badly home education providers, many of whom profess a Christian faith, are willing to conduct their affairs to increase their “take”.

Who says school boards honestly acquire funding? Dreamers! Those who believe that man is fundamentally good. Those who assume others will never bend the rules or stretch the truth. Those who naively trust bogus claims to Christian faith. Those who have not been made aware or have not questioned what is really going on with home education program delivery. It is true that home education funding is not even close to public school funding, but whether one is cheating at 6.25% or 100%, it is still cheating.

To be concluded next week.

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