School reopening statement from QESBA President David D'Aoust
MONTREAL, Aug. 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - "This time of year has always played a wonderful part in my life. There is nothing like the renewed sense of purpose and friendship that the beginning of a school year brings," notes David D'Aoust, President of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA). "Despite the challenges we all face in public education, everything is new and filled with possibility, thanks to our staff members and supportive parents."
D'Aoust should know a thing or two about the phenomenon, having viewed it as a parent and grandparent, teacher, principal, director general, associate deputy minister, and School Board Chair. As that first day of classes approaches later this week, he offered the following reflections on behalf of QESBA:
"This Fall, our nine English school boards will welcome back some 100,000 students and 8,000 teachers, administrators, professionals and support staff. As always, our singular focus will be on delivering appropriate quality services, maximizing the potential of every student and ensuring safe and sustainable English public schooling across Quebec. We will continuously improve our offer of advanced immersion and French second-language programs, inclusion of all students in the classroom, cutting-edge technology-based learning initiatives and comprehensive extra-curricular activities incentives. We know our teachers, principals, professionals and support staff will continue to maintain and develop a system that rivals the very best around the world.
Nonetheless, QESBA will have to be poised to promote and defend English public schooling against some important challenges that could stand in the way of that singular focus on classroom success. To start, our member school boards are grappling with their part of public education funding cuts of close to a half-billion dollars over the past three years. Our boards outside of the island of Montreal have been given no choice but to pass on government-imposed school tax increases to rate-payers this summer. Any other solution would have put that classroom-based focus at risk. Our two on-island boards must similarly struggle with continuing cutbacks.
This fall will also mark renewed National Assembly debate on Bill 14, designed to add further and unnecessary restrictions to the Charter of the French Language. QESBA and its partners will re-launch our fight to have the bill scrapped. Quebec's English public schools are not only a backbone of the communities they serve, they are also an ally, not an adversary in the promotion of the French language in Quebec. We expect to be treated as such. Our objective must be to see some oxygen added to English public school access, not a further tightening of the valve. Ultimately, QESBA will call upon this government and the other parties in the National Assembly to concentrate their energies on the economic and social health of the province. A government proposal for a "secular" charter of Quebec values hardly fits that description, and QESBA will follow that unfortunate and unnecessary issue closely.
QESBA will work throughout the coming school year to prepare the terrain for finally confirmed school board elections in November 2014. Parent and community input in public education is a fundamental priority and tradition in the English public school network. It is QESBA's responsibility to establish winning conditions for actively contested and effective elections. That is the ticket to the transparent and accountable renewal of elected English school boards.
This will be a big year for all of us in public education, and on behalf of the nine English school boards' elected representatives, we wish our Administrators, Teachers and above all, our students a successful and productive 2013-14 school year."
QESBA is the voice of English public education in Quebec representing some 100,000 students.
SOURCE Quebec English School Boards AssociationFor further information:
Director of Communications and Special Projects