Letter to the editor 1, March 1, 2018

Education Minister Sébastien Proulx: Stop funding QESBA

Dear Editor,

The subject of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) was raised at Question Period by me and two commissioners at the regular Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB)council meeting, held February 26.

The association is the umbrella group to Quebec's nine English school boards who pay about $1 million in annual membership fees. We, taxpayers at LBPSB, pay about $210,000 annually. After two years of nagging and pestering politicians, the Association finally made its budget public two months ago.

This organization has no Code of Ethics, yet it has the government's ear because it disingenuously plays the ‘minority-language education rights’ card as indicated in the Charter of Rights. Its fearmongering tactics are to the detriment of the English education community. Consider progressive school board reform Bill 86.

Since its inception in 1998, there has been no evidence QESBA has been of any economic, cultural, or pedagogical value for any English school, classroom, or student in Quebec. Absolutely nothing.

Last year the organization's Executive Director suddenly quit. Masters at creating committees and attending conferences and conventions, the Association decided to hire a consulting firm, to come up with a strategic plan.

Eastern Townships School Board Chairman Mike Murray reportedly said on August 24, 2017: "To me it sounds like an association that has lost its way and is looking for a purpose."

Worse, as mentioned at Pearson Council by a commissioner, Education Minister Sébastien Proulx is using precious education tax dollars to pay $66,000 for this firm, which still has not come up with anything because there is nothing to come up with.

It is time for the English school boards to be honest with themselves and withdraw their memberships from the QESBA. There is nothing it can do that boards cannot do for themselves.

More important, English Parents' Committees, consider this fact: the Nova Scotia government is in the process of scrapping elected school boards because they are considered "dysfunctional."

The QESBA, using our school tax dollars intended for our schools and students, has now decided, "…to publicly support the Nova Scotia School Boards Association in their fight to save their school boards..." This means all kinds of expenses. Education is a provincial matter.

Parents unite. There is an abundance of evidence that school autonomy has the greatest impact on student achievement because we are the closest to our children.

With all our high-tech communication tools and social media, we can manage and control our own schools.

Education Minister Sébastien Proulx : Stop funding the QESBA.

We, parents and grandparents, can work directly with any government.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds

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