Urgent meeting requested with the Minister of Education, Recreation and
Sports

    
    Hundreds of witness accounts confirm:
    - a serious shortage of professional resources in the schools
    - the abandonment of thousands of students requiring help
    

MONTREAL, March 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l'éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ), affiliated with the Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) today presented at a press conference in Montréal a 150-page document containing the testimony of hundreds of professionals from all of Québec's regions. The accounts confirm the shortage of professionals in the schools, and as a result, tens of thousands of students with difficulties do not receive the help and the support they need to succeed.

A student's place is not on a waiting list

This document says much about the state of mind of many education professionals, who are burned out and discouraged because they feel powerless. Yesterday the president of the FPPE-CSQ, Mr. Jean Falardeau sent a letter to the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, Michelle Courchesne, requesting a meeting "as soon as possible" to review the situation.

Mr. Falardeau will take advantage of the opportunity to give the Minister the 150-page document which the Federation used to put together regional profiles of professional services in Québec's schools. These profiles were revealed in recent weeks as part of a tour of Québec's regions conducted by the FPPE-CSQ with the theme A student's place is not on a waiting list.

Government is not doing everything it can

In Mr. Falardeau's view, the gravity of the situation means that the Minister must go much further than the measures she announced on September 9 last year in her action strategy on student retention and student success.

"Before we conclude, as Ms. Courchesne has done, that schools can no longer assume all the responsibility for boosting the rate of student retention and student success, first, we must at least ensure that schools are actually doing everything they can to do so. Hundreds of accounts gathered from our members clearly show that this is not the case because thousands of students are unable to get the professional help they need. Regardless of what Ms. Courchesne says, "if we truly want students with difficulties to succeed, mobilizing the community's vital forces can never be a substitute for the specialized services provided to them by a speech therapist or a remedial education teacher," recalled the president of the FPPE-CSQ.

Professionals essential for improving student success

Mr. Falardeau asserts that the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports is deluding herself and misleading everyone if she believes that the success of our students can be improved without providing our schools with more professional resources.

"The entire community can get behind a dyslexic student and tell her that they believe in her and that it is supporting her efforts, as Ms. Courchesne asked us all to do last September, but that is not enough to help this student succeed. Empty slogans are not what the student needs; she needs the professional help of a speech therapist, and claiming the contrary means we are engaging in magical thinking," warned Mr. Falardeau.

Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports torpedoing her own efforts

The testimony gathered by the FPPE as part of its consultation leaves no room for doubt: it attests to a shortage of professionals and the many special need students who are simply left to their own devices all throughout Québec. The reality is the same in all the regions: the number of students with difficulties is on the rise but professional resources are not keeping pace.

"By stepping up the integration of students with impairments, behavioural disorders or learning disabilities into regular classes, and failing to boost professional resources accordingly, the Ministère de l'Éducation has put in place ideal conditions for making Québec schools an incubator for future dropouts. And the longer Education Minister Michelle Courchesne delays remedying the situation, the more she will torpedo her own efforts to improve student success in Québec," asserts the president of the FPPE-CSQ.

Hiring 1,300 professionals is urgent

Mr. Jean Falardeau wishes to meet with the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports as quickly as possible to persuade her to make some adjustments.

"If we want to ensure that all students with difficulties have access to the professional help they need to succeed, in the short term, we will have to hire 1,300 more education professionals to provide direct services to students. First, the hiring of additional resources will allow us to reduce the far too heavy workload of professionals currently on the job, many of whom are contemplating leaving the school system. Second, it would make professional services accessible to all students who need them," explains Mr. Falardeau.

Video and online petition

In anticipation of the meeting with Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, the FPPE-CSQ also launched a short video to raise public awareness of the grave consequences for a young person experiencing difficulties at school who does not receive the professional help he or she needs.

MNA Pierre Curzi, spokesperson for the official opposition agreed to table the petition at the National Assembly at the end of April. The petition demands that the government augment professional services in our schools. Members of the public are invited to visit the Web site of the National Assembly in order to sign the online petition.

Profiles

The CSQ represents about 170,000 members, including 100,000 in the public sector. It is the largest education union in Québec. The CSQ is also active in health and social services, childcare services, and the municipal, recreational, cultural, community and communications sectors.

The Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l'éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ) represents 20 unions bringing together 6,000 members working in virtually all of Québec's French-language, English-language, Cree and Kativik school boards. Its members belong to various personnel categories, in administration, pedagogy and direct student services.

SOURCE Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l'éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ)

For further information: For further information: Claude Girard, CSQ Information officer, Cell: (514) 237-4432, girard.claude@www.csq.qc.net

Organization Profile

Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l'éducation du Québec (FPPE-CSQ)

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