Quebec Government's Unacceptable Education Bill

Changes to the System Must Be Based on Teachers' and Education Workers' Experience

– Geneviève Royer –

Teachers denounce Quebec government's education reform outside National Assembly, June 2, 2023

There is a consciousness in Quebec that major changes must take place in education to solve serious problems. Among these are the lack of teachers, students failing and dropping out of school, the lack of human resources to help teachers and their students, and the growing insecurity in schools that is a consequence of these problems.

Public opinion also recognizes that teachers, along with their colleagues in educational institutions, are the ones with the expertise to solve these problems in favour of a public education system that will serve the needs of society.

With Bill 23, introduced on May 4 by Education Minister Bernard Drainville, the opposite is true. The refusal to respond to the needs of the younger generation and the workers who educate them, from kindergarten to the end of high school, will make the situation even worse. The bill continues the Legault government's policy of restructuring the state so that all decisions rest in the hands of narrow private interests through ministers who are put there by these interests.

The principle of the public education system is based on society having reached a level of development where its future prosperity depends on the expansion of public services. The enormous development of the productive forces in Quebec and Canada, and the technological revolution driving it in all aspects of life, should translate into a corresponding growth in the capacity to meet the educational needs of citizens on all fronts.

Instead of assuming social responsibility, governments are directly captured by private interests and make anti-social decisions for private gain. We can be sure that in the weeks to come, private companies and organizations outside the education system will emerge from the wings.

In Bill 23 and the Minister's interventions, teachers have been reduced to things. They are to be dictated to in terms of the best practices and training deemed necessary by the Minister himself. Their role, according to the bill, is to increase academic results.

Quebec's education system is rich in the experience of nearly 100,000 teachers. A reform of the education system that does not take this into account must be rejected.

Teachers greet education minister at reopening of Mont Bleu school in Outaouais, September 5, 2023,  calling for action at the negotiating table to ensure quality public schools for all.

(Photos: FAE)

This article was published in
Number 52 - September 22, 2023

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