MONTREAL, DECEMBER 4, 2015 – The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) denounces the proposals made today by the Quebec government to restructure the province’s school boards by limiting the public’s right to elect Commissioners to these institutions. Bill 86, tabled today by Education Minister François Blais at the National Assembly, does nothing to improve learning conditions for students and facilitate scholastic success, and could instead imperil the Anglophone education system that routinely produces top-ranked schools and student performance results across Quebec.
‟I am deeply disappointed with Minister Blais’ proposal to manipulate the structure for democratically-elected school boards, though I am not surprised,ˮ said Angela Mancini, Chairperson of the EMSB. ‟The Minister has categorically refused to meet with us and consult on the problems that he seeks to address in our education system, and work out appropriate and practical solutions. As a result, today’s Bill will not achieve the government’s objectives to improve the learning conditions and prospects for future generations of students in our province.ˮ
Community control over the governance of Quebec’s school boards is already alive and well. The Minister’s proposal to limit seats for elected Commissioners on new school advisory councils denies the right of all citizens, both parents and non-parents alike, to voice their say in the structure and management of these pillars of the community. The EMSB appreciates the invaluable contribution of its Parent Commissioners on our school board. We are keen to see this cooperation continue within a structure that protects the rights of all citizens to become involved in the management of our schools.
Elected Commissioners are vested with the democratic legitimacy necessary to safeguard the cultural and linguistic values and traditions of the communities they serve. This delegated responsibility empowers them to manage school board policies and programs that shape the parameters for continued student success. This control is of utmost importance for the Anglophone and Allophone minority language communities, and is guaranteed by their Constitutional rights.
‟Our school board is ready to go as far as necessary to defend the rights of all community members to participate in the governance of our schools,ˮ stressed Mrs. Mancini. ‟The government has unilaterally chosen a ‘solution’ to a ‘problem’ which frankly doesn’t exist. The fact that a democratically-elected institution is attempting to severely restrict another is quite simply unacceptable. We call on Members of the National Assembly to work with us and our Francophone partners to amend this draft legislation, in the context of general consultations at the National Assembly, and focus our efforts on what really matters here – how to improve the conditions of our school systems for our treasured youth.ˮ
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213