Public Education – A fight to STOP plans to cut public education
By: Sabrina Cipriani – mtltimes.ca
Just today I was on the phone with a relative whose child attends a public school in Dorval; to my surprise they had no idea about the Quebec government’s upcoming plan for cuts. With social media so prominently all around us, are there still parents, aunts, uncles, grand-parents and so forth in the dark??
Children are our future that will never change; they will and should always come first. According to the news, a change is coming, not a good one, a terrible awful change that will bring severe consequences. Parents are upset, students are going to suffer, and teachers will struggle.
Education is already undervalued here in Quebec; and the government wants to make cuts again….
- Increase class sizes between grades 3 to 8
- Eliminate the weighting of special needs students integrated in the classroom without additional support for these children, making it impossible to meet the needs of each student
- Increase the assigned time within the teachers’ workload for bureaucratic paperwork, taking away time normally devoted to educating your children
- Take away essential resources from the system by imposing additional cutbacks to school boards which will, more than ever, impact on the direct services to all students
That’s a lot to take in; this has left the teachers of Quebec no choice but to apply pressure tactics with the help of communities.Robert Green a well-known teacher at Westmount High School and advocate for his profession says, “We are frustrated with what the government is proposing”. Although teacher’s salaries here in Quebec are $20,000 less than Ontario, teachers have no problem with giving their own time to helping their students.Green says it’s not only about another salary cut; it’s about the government’s plan to remove all range of support for students. For example, right now Westmount high school holds 800 students with 4 resource teachers. They help special needs children or students who need extra help, grade 7 and 8 receive help with their transition to high school to help build their confidence and self-esteem. “This is not a small issue, it is a major issue”, says Green.
Westmount high schoolparent, Vittoria Nudo, knows all too well how the government can neglect education. She says, “Education is an investment to a healthy economy and a strong society. Education is not an area that should be negotiated or jeopardized. Classroom size does matter, resources and extra support are crucial. Special needs children have a right to Education and teachers should be valued, recognized, respected and supported”.
Nudo attended this month’s human chain around her son’s school on Thursday October 1st. Every 1st of the month, staff, alumnae, parents and supporters are making a statement with a human chain around their child’s school. They want to be heard, they want the government to listen, and they are not taking this lying down.Nudo told me, this past Thursday had a big turn out and the conversation amongst the parents was how important classroom sizes are and always have been even when their children were in early childhood centers, the first question always is, how many children are in my son or daughter’s class. The smaller the class, the more hands on the teacher can be with his or her students, the larger the class the less individual attention the teacher can give. “It’s not rocket science”, says Nudo.
Green said, “For us as teachers, it means so much to have parents standing with us”, when referring to the human chain. He along with the other teachers was very happy to have the support of Westmount Park Elementary school this past Thursday.
Green mentioned that what exists now in the public education system isn’t ideal, actually it’s inadequate and now more will be taken away which will create more frustrated students, “Our working conditions are their learning conditions”.
HOW CAN YOU HELP???
Parents across Quebec have access to a standard letter, Visit www.montrealteachers4changethat can be sent to their MNA. You just need to fill in your name and your child’s school. “Teachers can’t fight alone, they need parents support, after all they are our children”, says Vittoria Nudo.
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Vittoria doesn’t understand or accept these proposals. For one, she strongly feels that students should not be responsible to pay for Quebec’s deficit. Secondly, she says, in the end these cutbacks will have such disastrous effects which will lead Quebec to the past when there were little to no services.
Will you come out and fight for the rights for our teachers and students here in Quebec?
Come out and stand with the parents, teachers and students on the 1st of November at your local school, look up more ways to fight this important cause.
Get on board! Take a stand! Unite with us!