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EMSB CONCERNED OVER PROPOSED CHANGES TO LANGUAGE LAW

MONTREAL, DECEMBER  10, 2012 –  English Montreal School Board Chairman Angela Mancini  has expressed concern over aspects of Bill 14, the proposed legislation tabled by the new Parti Québécois government.

Ms. Mancini specifically pointed towards a new exam that students at English CEGEPS and perhaps new standards that could be imposed at the high school level.  “We are concerned about how this would be enacted , the fact that it will seemingly  be at the discretion of bureaucrats  and what resources would be provided should standards be increased, ” said Ms. Mancini.

The EMSB is dismayed to learn that  further restrictions are being proposed for access to English schooling for military families.  “We  are pleased that the government did not include any provisions to extend Bill 101 to English CEGEPs and adult and vocational centre programs,” Ms. Mancini says.

Ms. Mancini emphasizes that the EMSB will unveil a new promotional strategy in January aimed at showcasing the quality of  French language instruction at the school level.

“Our students already speak excellent French and we are proud of that,” commented Ms. Mancini. “The majority of our students are enrolled in French immersion and graduate with certificates of bilingualism. There is so much to celebrate for the way in which French is taught and learned in the English system. The addition of this proposed new exam is unnecessary.”

EMSB Commissioners Patricia Lattanzio and Frank Verrillo, the chairman’s special advisors on government relations, note that Bill 14 won’t come to  the National Assembly for a vote until next spring.

“During last summer’s election campaign we began a process of meeting with different candidates,” said Ms. Lattanzio. “We are now preparing to meet with MNAs from all parties and we will be particularly interested to see what the individuals who serve our areas have to say.”

Mr. Verrillo said that the EMSB, via the Quebec English School Boards Association, also intends to be part of the public hearings which will take place regarding Bill 14.

Ms. Mancini noted that when she met with Jean-François Lisée , the minister responsible for Montreal and the anglophone community, she made it clear that the English school boards need some oxygen. “Between 2007 and 2017, the EMSB is projected to lose over 4,600 or 20 percent of our students while the francophone school boards on the Island of Montreal will increase by 18,000 or 13 percent over the same period,” she says. “A lot of damage has been done to our English system. Restricting access to our system for military families does not amount to very large numbers. But when given our steady enrolment drop,  the loss of any student is problematic.”

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Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca