Monthly Archives: March 2013

God Forbid someone should go to an English school in Quebec.

Minister Diane De Courcy just issued a press release suggesting that exempting military families from Bill 14 is something akin to the unbelievable abuse of the law used by parents who pay THOUSANDS of dollars to go to a private school so that they can then have access to an English public school.

God Forbid.

God Forbid someone in Quebec should have the right to actually choose what language school their child goes to.

As I type this, I cannot fathom how we have let THIS much happen.  Let alone the idea that this new minority government thinks that they should add to the despicable yet still pathetic abuse that is already perpetrated on the English community of Quebec.  One of the founding peoples of this province.

This is not normal.  This is not acceptable.  In actuality, it runs counter to international law.  Article TWO of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights expressly condemns discrimination based on language.  ARTICLE TWO.  You don’t have to read very much to see that THE WORLD doesn’t accept this.

What is it that these people do not understand?!?

As I said to a bilingual (French first language) friend yesterday, when asked to comment on how *should* French be protected, as we all want it to be in Quebec. I wrote to him:

Focus on the advantages of speaking French. Help people fall in love with the culture. Simply “be” the people and the place where others want to be. Encourage pride in the language and culture and dismiss any idea that it is too weak to survive without laws to protect it. Set an example that others want to emulate.

The example that Diane De Courcy and her gang of language thugs is nothing to emulate.  Our province has become an international laughing stock.  Look up “pastagate” on Google and you’ll see over TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND results.  Yup, that’s what the world thinks when it thinks of Quebec right now.

This is pathetic.  It is not good for Quebec.  It is not good for the French language or our shared culture of Quebec.  It serves nothing but to allow pathetic politicians to pull on the heartstrings of those too ignorant to know better.  This is not how French is going to thrive in Quebec.  This does not elicit pride in the language, the culture or the province.  It elicits contempt.

It truly is pathetic, in every possible way.

Truly,

Steve

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It’s just not good enough.

From a press release from the CAQ.

See, this is just not good enough. Supporting even these anti-English changes in Bill 14 is discriminatory – again. And it does nothing to “protect” the French fact of Quebec. If your MNA is a CAQuiste, you need to let them know how you feel. ASAP.

«Nous sommes toutefois d’avis que les immigrants qui viennent s’installer chez nous doivent être appuyés lorsqu’ils doivent apprendre le français. Le gouvernement peut en faire plus pour les aider à maîtriser la langue officielle du Québec. Dans le même ordre d’idée, nous pensons qu’il est pertinent d’inscrire dans la Charte des droits et libertés le droit de vivre et de travailler en français. Nous sommes ouverts à ces propositions», a conclu la porte-parole de la Coalition.

Bill 14 has to be struck down in its entirety.

hdaneault-grou@assnat.qc.ca – deputy for Groulx (Rosemere, Lorraine, Ste Therese, Boisbriand)
dratthe-blai@assnat.qc.ca – deputy for Blainville

Truly,

Steve

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Is Quebec’s education reform a failure?

This article in today’s La Presse reports on a study done by researchers at the University of Laval on the relative success or failure of our education reform.

And the report is not good.

En effet, une forte majorité d’enseignants ne croient pas que la réforme a permis aux élèves de mieux apprendre (69 %), de mieux réussir (72 %), d’être plus motivés (69 %), plus outillés (58 %), plus disciplinés (88 %) ou plus autonomes (69 %).

And for high school teachers in particular:

Les enseignants du secondaire sont particulièrement sévères envers la réforme, puisqu’ils sont en désaccord avec les affirmations précédentes dans une proportion qui dépasse souvent les 80 %. «Ce sont des données très fortes pour nous. La différence avec le secondaire est hyper marquée», souligne M. Falardeau.

Worse still, the fundamental idea of “integration” of those students in difficulties into the regular stream is reported to have a negative affect all around.

Les enseignants ne croient pas non plus que l’intégration des élèves en difficulté dans les classes régulières a été un succès. Au contraire, 75 % considèrent que cette intégration a fait fuir les élèves plus forts vers le réseau privé ou les programmes d’éducation internationale du réseau public (83 %), alors que 68 % estiment que cette intégration n’a pas permis aux élèves faibles de s’améliorer. Selon les profs interrogés, «l’intégration n’a aidé personne», résume M. Falardeau.

So what to do? When do we actually talk about reform, and it’s success or failure?  At the school board level, there is nothing we can do but lobby for change. MELS decides.

I think we need to put together a new picture of what education could be like in Quebec. There are enough successful models around the world for us to draw from. The more difficult task will be in changing society’s valuation of education, and those who deliver it.

Truly,

Steve

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Vocational education – an immense need.

It was a funny thing to read, this morning, on CBC’s website:

(Stephen Harper) He says that means starting at the basic education level: “There’s a general feeling there are too many kids getting BAs and not enough welders.”

Measures aimed at promoting apprenticeships will feature prominently in the budget, he says.

Vocational education often has a certain stigma to it.  “Well, he may not get into Cegep, but there’s always Voc Ed.  Sorry.”

That just isn’t the case.  Or it shouldn’t be the case.  And it didn’t used to be this way. Over the last 30 years, the entire focus has been put on getting that Bachelor’s degree.  “High school alone just won’t cut it.”  But what comes after high school? Not everyone gets into Cegep. Not everyone *wants* to get into Cegep.  And not everyone *should* get into Cegep, and especially so when there is a real need for tradespeople.  And not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the kid graduating with a BA in computer science?  Well, that kid working as an undersea welder out in the Maritimes is likely making 4-5 times as much money, with more time off and benefits.

Other countries have sophisticated systems to bring bright young people into trades and professions, but we’ve never really figured it out.

And why haven’t we?  Well, I would ay that the first step is to remove the stigma from the work path in high schools.  Understand that vocational education is not where you go if you can’t succeed in school.  It’s a path that you may choose that leads to a great future, and all the success in the word.  Graduates of Vocational Education, even if they have not managed to pass Sec 4 history and maybe missed a credit in French or English – well, they are our success stories as well, and the MELS needs to recognize that.

Truly,

Steve

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Dignity for All: Protecting Our Students from Bullying [VIDEO]

Peter DeWitt, author of Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students, is a nationally renowned advocate for student rights. As an elementary school principal, Peter is passionate about empowering teachers and administrators to protect vulnerable students, particularly the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. Through a culture of acceptance and a firm stance against bullying, schools can make all students feel safe so they can maximize their full potential.

Please see the full blog post here.

Teachers are the power in this, because they can do this in their classrooms, but they’re not going to do it without administrator approval…

Truly,

Steve

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