QESBA welcomes selection of new Education Minister - Enrolment stability, support for school boards and curriculum reform should be priorities

    QUEBEC CITY, April 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards
Association (QESBA) reacted positively today to the appointment of Michelle
Courchesne as Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports. QESBA had
developed a strong and productive relationship with former Minister Jean-Marc
Fournier and now looks forward to building similar ties to Mme Courchesne.
    "We have always made it a priority of our association to sensitize
successive Ministers to the particular concerns of Quebec's nine English
school boards and the 115,000 students we serve," noted QESBA President Marcus
Tabachnick in a statement from Quebec City, where he attended the swearing-in
ceremony at the National Assembly. "We will continue to play that role
actively, in Quebec City and throughout the province. Similarly, QESBA looks
forward to contributing its ideas and expertise towards facilitating
government policies and legislation that will support continuous improvement
to public schooling."

    Among the key areas QESBA will be watching:

     - Curriculum reform: QESBA will be expecting the continuation of
       clearly-explained and well-supported implementation of reform through
       high school. While there have been challenges (late availability of
       English texts, to name one) the reform remains a progressive and
       important step towards educating our children in a changing world
     - Strengthening community involvement in education: Universally-elected
       school boards are a vital and responsive tool for communities to
       ensure accountable and effective public schools. Government support
       for school boards must be reinforced
     - Recognition of our distinct English school network: Quebec's
       340 English schools and adult centres face a particular set of
       challenges and opportunities. They cover expansive territories, offer
       unique French second-language programs, deal with restricted access to
       students and value a long tradition of innovation and flexibility.
       QESBA will work with this Minister and government to secure
       recognition of our specific circumstances.

    "This is a dynamic time in Quebec's evolution," Tabachnick said. "The
election results delivered a very different National Assembly for the coming
mandate. We will work with the Minister, and the opposition parties, to
support progressive approaches to public education issues, and we trust that
the results will be positive for our schools, our teachers and our students
across Quebec. We wish Mme Courchesne every success in his/her new mandate,
and offer the full collaboration of our association and its member boards."

For further information:

For further information: Kimberley Hamilton, Communications and Special
Projects Officer, (514) 849-5900, ext.: 225, (514) 919-3894 (cell.)

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Quebec English School Boards Association

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