CAQ’s school governance plan respects English community’s rights


 3 May 2018

This text was originally published on May 2nd by Jean-François Roberge, MNA for Chambly and the CAQ spokesperson for education

The original text can be found at the following link.

A few weeks ago, the Coalition Avenir Québec unveiled a comprehensive policy on the important issue of the governance of the education system in Quebec.

For the CAQ, education must be a top priority. We must have a school system in Quebec that is modern and efficient and meets and even exceeds expectations. We must offer our young people the best possible education framework and curriculum to ensure their success and their fulfillment now and in the future. At the same time, the system must be flexible and caring enough to address the special needs of children with disabilities and learning difficulties.

We are aware that the CAQ’s proposal to abolish school boards and elections of trustees has caused some concern within Quebec’s English-speaking community. Some even raised the spectre of a CAQ wanting to eradicate the English education system as a consequence of our proposal to abolish school boards. Nothing is further from the truth. The anglophone community should be very wary of fear-mongering by Philippe Couillard’s Quebec Liberal Party on this issue.

School boards have become, over the years, like many mini-governments within the government. Our goal will be to modernize this system by transforming these outdated structures into service centres for schools, organizations whose mission is to support schools rather than run them remotely.

We have the responsibility to give way to the dynamism of teachers, professionals, support staff and principals, and provide a stimulating educational environment conducive to the utmost development of every child in Quebec. School boards have become obstacles to achieving these goals and it is time to address this problem.

The nine anglophone school boards will be transformed into less expensive centres whose mission will be to provide administrative services and help with the management of schools. The empowerment of governing boards in each and every school (conseils d’établissement in French) will ensure that the English-speaking community remains in total control of its education system.

The transformation that we want to achieve will generate a major change of mission for the various levels of governance of the network. This approach will also mean the end of school board elections, which are very costly and without democratic legitimacy due to their anemic participation rate. In fact, less than 17 per cent voters from the anglophone community participated in the 2014 election.

Several validations and accountabilities currently handled by the school boards or the Ministry of Education will be streamlined. As a result of our approach, school management, both English and French, will gain in autonomy. Also, by entrusting more powers to the governing boards, the decisions that concern the school will be directly in the hands of those who work there and those who make the heart of its neighbourhood beat.

I repeat: the CAQ’s proposal clearly states that parents belonging to the English-language community will retain in this new model their right of management and control over the educational institutions where their children are educated. This will not change and indeed, our approach will enhance the quantity and quality of services provided to the schools and their occupants.

I invite you to read the other proposals of the CAQ regarding education. We believe strongly in the value of education to enrich Quebecers and provide them with the knowledge they need to make our place in today’s world.