As election looms, where do party leaders stand on key priority of public education?

QESBA has three questions

MONTREAL, July 21, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - It is increasingly clear that Quebecers will be summoned to the polls in early September. Each of the three individuals who would be Premier professes to place public education at or near the top of their list of priorities for action. How? When? With what precise policies?

As the voice of English public education in Quebec, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) has a few questions that it believes the party leaders and their candidates must address, if voters are to be given the opportunity they deserve to make an informed choice when they go to the ballot box. QESBA suggests that all of those who care about public education seek answers to these questions, at meetings with candidates, in calls and letters to the media, in discussions with friends and family. The coming election will be an important rendez-vous for all Quebecers. The place of public education in the campaign leading up to Voting Day is also important.

Here are our three questions of the party leaders and each of their candidates:

1. The education of our children is a public trust. Quebec's public schools, elementary, high schools, adult and vocational centres are controlled and managed by school boards - the level of government, elected by the public, that is closest to the communities they serve. At present, no date or format has been confirmed for school board elections.
(a) If you and your party are elected to form the next government, what guarantees can you provide to ensure that the system of universally elected school boards will be maintained and strengthened?
(b) When will you confirm a date for the next school board elections and what format will they take?

2. There is no doubt that Québec is faced with a difficult economic horizon over the next few years in its struggle to reduce the deficit. Inevitably, any future government will face tough choices with respect to the financing of public services. Each of the leaders has indicated that education is an investment in Québec's future and not simply an expense. That said, school boards have seen their budgets drastically reduced over the past 10 years or more as well as their level of autonomy to best deliver quality services to their students.
(a) If you and your party are elected to form the next government, will you ensure the required levels of funding of public education in Québec, always understanding that education is the motor of the economy?
(b) How will you guarantee school boards the autonomy they need to make decisions and deliver the full range of programs that respond to the local needs of their students and the communities?

3. English public schooling in Québec is an absolute life-line to the future of our communities across the province. Our students benefit from progressive and innovative education programs, inclusive approaches to learning and after-school activities and superior French second-language instruction at every level. Enrollment across our system continues to be a concern, however, as access to English public schooling is basically limited to the students of parents who studied in English in Canada under the rules of the Charter of the French Language. Within those rules, which QESBA is not contesting in this campaign, eligible parents continue to face confusing and complicated bureaucratic delays as the seek access to English public schooling.
(a) If you and your party are elected to form the next government, will you adopt a clear and supportive position on the importance and value of Québec's English public education system to the future of our province?
(b) Will you take the necessary steps to improve the efficiency and transparency of bureaucratic procedures imposed on parents seeking to obtain eligibility to English public schooling for their children, as is their right, by law?

On Election Day, each Quebecer will make the choice that best responds to his/her concerns and priorities. QESBA trusts that the coming campaign will have provided them with the answers to these and other key questions as they exercise that choice.

QESBA is the voice of English public education in Quebec. Its nine member school boards serve some 100,000 students in 340 elementary and high schools, adult and vocational centres across the province.

To view a video presentation of these questions by QESBA President David D'Aoust, please follow the following Youtube link:






For further information:

David Birnbaum
Executive Director
(514) 232-6295

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