Quebec families that homeschool are protesting against the province's new regulations.

The Legault government is seeking to standardize it and make Quebec exams mandatory.

Part of the stated motivation on the part of the CAQ government is to apparently dissuade illegal religious education – parents who claim they are homeschooling their children but then send them to clandestine religious schools.

Adopted by the Liberal government, Bill 144 already governs homeschooling and went into effect last year.

It allows parents to choose anything other than core subjects and make ministerial examinations optional. The CAQ wants to re-introduce ministerial examinations as mandatory and force parents to closely mirror the official curriculum.

Some say this is targeting illegal religious schools but special needs kids could get caught in the mix and anyway, while others say the idea of clandestine religious schools is a false problem.

“Bill 144, which amended… the law of compulsory education in Quebec, was just adopted last year. The regulation that comes from it was just implemented nine months (ago). So, the law as adopted already has all the tools – very strict tools, mind you – to deal with the problem of schools which do not teach the compulsory education,” said Abraham Ekstein of the Jewish Association for Homeschooling.

“What the law also does is it allows parents the flexibility to register for homeschooling with a very strong following by the ministry, with a lot of reports and meeting with ministry people. So this new regulation does not do anything more about the issue of illegal schools. All it does is make life more difficult for parents who want to comply with the law, by adding more constraints and making harder for them to comply with the law,” he said.

  • Full interview with Abraham Ekstein above

Critics are also saying the education minister is not abiding by consultation guidelines laid out in Bill 144.

Opponents are calling on the government to delay the application of these new regulations so some consultations can first take place.