Letter to the editor 2, May 14, 2015

Dear Editor,

A bouquet to the Central Parents’ Committee (CPC) of the English Montreal School Board, for bypassing the board to get its Parent Opinion Survey out to the community. Meanwhile, a brickbat to the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) in its attempts to undermine the government’s school-board reform plan by playing the language card. The QESBA, as usual, justifies its existence based on fear-mongering and deception. First, QESBA’s spokespersons travelled to Victoria, BC, at taxpayers’ expense, to pass a laughable resolution on minority-rights with the Canadian School Boards Association. Now the association is embarking on a costly “two-week media campaign to sensitize and mobilize the English speaking community on the importance of maintaining our minority rights where school board elections are concerned.”

President David D’Aoust and Executive Director Marcus Tabachnick of the QESBA don’t seem to understand or accept: - Education is a provincial matter; - A majority government rules, and is prepared to listen to parents rather than school board propaganda - By far, most Quebecers don’t care about school board elections.

They care about their children’s education, their schools, teachers and students. - Accordingly, thousands of English-speaking parents are exercising their minority-rights by sending their children to French schools. Moving on: On May 7, I attended the Lester B. Pearson School Board CPC meeting armed with two requests: to ditch our membership to the valueless QESBA, and possibly doing a Parental Opinion Survey for the Pearson community. One significant reason behind the idea of a parent survey really concerns communication matters. Sure, there are hard-working, caring Governing Boards, Parent Sector Committees, Parent Participation Organizations and the CPC but the problem is these groups do not really speak to each other for a variety of legitimate reasons.

Parents work. Minutes are often months behind, and important information is not disseminated to all on real time. That said, since we are heading into a school-board reform of sorts, we need to know exactly what the community thinks - an online parent survey is an idea. Before that, though, it is important that we, the English-speaking community, truly understands the government of Philippe Couillard. and Education Minister François Blais. Contrary to the self-serving nonsense of the QESBA, the English community will have its own schools, teachers with their English union, principals with their English association, and all aforementioned English groups. Although plans are not finalized, it seems constitutional rights and democracy will play out at the school level.

After all, that’s where the action is.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds

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