Québec Education/Bill 96/

Written by  //  January 31, 2024  //  Education, Québec  //  Comments Off on Québec Education/Bill 96/

Consortium of English-language CEGEPs,
Colleges and Universities of Quebec – 2023

‘Stop scapegoating the English community in Quebec,’ says Lametti in farewell speech to Parliament
(CTV) Back when Bill 96 was introduced, Lametti told reporters that he was concerned with the law(opens in a new tab), particularly with Quebecers’ access to justice in the language of their choice and their access to health care, but vowed not to get the federal government involved, rather he would only intervene if the law is brought before the country’s highest court. He suggested in 2022 that Legault was misusing section 33 of the Charter to protect the language law.
“It was supposed to be the last word in a dialogue between the courts and the legislature, and not the first word,” he said at the time.
The controversial language law, which limits the use of English in certain settings, has been the subject of lawsuits and constitutional challenges since it was adopted in 2022.

10 January
Allison Hanes: Will Quebec learn any lessons from the teachers’ strike?
There are many questions to be asked about why lengthy contract negotiations still resulted in a walkout when education is supposed to be a top priority for this government.
All children returned to class this week after teachers negotiating better pay and working conditions walked off the job for various periods of time leading up to the Christmas break. Most kids missed 11 days of class. But nearly 400,000 students were out of school for a total of seven weeks, almost the equivalent of the summer holidays.
… The most vulnerable students bore the brunt of the strike. These include newcomers in Greater Montreal’s French public schools, where 22 days of classes were cancelled before the holidays, and students experiencing learning difficulties. The government will fund tutoring sessions for those who have fallen behind, as well as extra French lessons for immigrant children trying to master a new language.
Will it be enough to erase the disparities from the strike, which likely compounded the damaging effects of the pandemic? The lesson here is that this cohort of doubly disadvantaged students deserves all the support we can muster all the time, not just for the rest of the current school year.
Quebec announces $300 million catch-up plan for students after weeks of strike
(CTV) After seven long weeks of teachers’ strikes, Quebec students are back in school, and to help them get up to speed, the province is spending $300 million on a catch-up plan.
While some parents aren’t worried about the lost time, others question whether their children will be able to catch up.
…Education Minister Bernard Drainville …estimates half a million students will need additional help. Over the next two weeks, teachers will evaluate their students and then make recommendations to parents.
The ministry says it will provide free after-hours tutoring, additional language training for immigrant students, free summer school for high schoolers at risk of dropping out, and will give money to community groups as part of the plan. He said the funds will be allocated based on where the need exists.
Like during the pandemic, ministry exams this year will count for just 10 per cent of students’ overall grade and will test essential learning only for Secondary 4 and 5.
Drainville said the school year will still end by June 24, and, for now, March Break and the remaining Ped days will remain as is. But some schools could remain open during March Break for tutoring on a voluntary basis, if needed.


27-28 December
FAE teachers union ends month-long strike after confirming deal in principle
The Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) will present a deal in principle to members.
After a month without school before the holiday break, thousands of Quebec students should be able to return to classes in January after the Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) confirmed Thursday that it had reached an agreement in principle with the government that will be recommended to its members.
On social networks, the central union, which represents around 66,500 primary and secondary teachers, announced that it was putting an end to all its pressure tactics, including the indefinite strike it called on Nov. 23.
The content of this agreement in principle will not be publicly revealed until it is presented to members of the FAE’s member unions during general meetings to will be held after the holidays.
Even if the FAE recognized Thursday that the agreement in principle constitutes a “new step”, it said “it is up to teachers to respond to the government of François Legault and to say if they believe they have been heard.”
Union delegates will meet over the next few days to study the deal, the statement said, and if it is accepted then members will be called to vote on it.
“This round of negotiations will be officially settled when working and practice conditions as well as salary conditions are deemed satisfactory,” the spokespeople said.
Quebec reaches full tentative deal with common front
Deals include working conditions and salaries, and could be presented to members for ratification in January.
The news comes a day after the group, which includes the CSN, CSQ, FTQ and APTS unions, had reached tentative agreements on working conditions.
“In terms of wages, the objectives of the common front were based on two key principles: protecting our 420,000 workers against inflation and obtaining a general catch-up in wages for all workers,” common front spokespeople said in a statement Thursday. “This is what guided us throughout this negotiation blitz to reach a proposed agreement. We now wish to first present it to our respective authorities.”
Quebec now has tentative deals with all four of the federations that compose the common front — an alliance of teachers, health-care workers and other public-sector employees that launched a series of strikes in November that shut down schools and delayed surgeries.

23 December
Anglo and exhausted; it’s been a tough 2023
Stephen Cohen teaches physics at Vanier College and is the author of Getting Physics: Nature’s Laws as a Guide to Life.
(Gazette Opinion) As a CEGEP teacher, I have only begun to see the effects of Law 14 (Bill 96), which imposes major changes on the academic path at anglophone colleges. It affects exit exams and course requirements, places a heavy burden on teachers and students, and most disturbingly, divides students into two categories — those with a certificate of eligibility and those without.
A teacher’s top mission is to help their students succeed, but the impositions of this law have diverted attention from that objective to others that are entirely non-pedagogical. Hours that should be spent improving courses are invested deciding which ones should be offered in French. The educational guiding principles shift from maximizing gains to minimizing pain.
I did not meet one student at this year’s open house who was pleased by these changes. I have yet to cross paths with a colleague who has felt a boost in motivation. We feel demoralized and set up to fail.
Oh, and if that were not enough, we, along with seemingly the rest of the public sector, have been forced into strike actions by several rounds of contract negotiations that undervalue us. This comes at a great cost to us and has severely impacted our students’ learning.

22 December
As Quebec teachers strike drags on, fears rise about children’s welfare
(CTV) As a Quebec teachers strike drags on, parents and child development experts warn the resulting classroom closures will have a profound effect on some students’ education.
The Fédération Autonome de l’Enseignement, which represents about 66,000 teachers, launched an unlimited general strike on Nov. 23, shutting around 800 public schools across the province, including at the province’s largest school board in Montreal.
Students at those schools face at least two more weeks without classes as the holiday vacation approaches and the union and Quebec government remain unable to reach a deal.
Parents are already reporting that the extended break is dampening some students’ motivation to learn or, in the case of older students, to pursue post-secondary education, said Mélanie Laviolette, president of a group that represents parents of schoolchildren.

20 December
Quebec teachers’ unions reject government’s latest offer
(CTV) The Fédération Autonome de l’Enseignement (FAE), a union representing 66,000 elementary and high school teachers in Quebec, has rejected the provincial government’s latest offer.
In a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon, the union said the Legault government’s offer “contains major setbacks for teachers and their students.”
“You may have heard talk this week that negotiations are accelerating for certain groups and that we’re on the verge of an agreement for the holidays. This is not, unfortunately, the case for the FAE,” said union president Mélanie Hubert in a video message posted to Facebook.
FAE members have been on indefinite strike since Nov. 23, while teachers with the Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (FSE-CSQ), affiliated with the Commont Front of public sector unions, have participated in periodic strikes over the past several weeks.
The FSE-CSQ, which represents 95,000 teachers across the province, also said Wednesday that it’s disappointed by Quebec’s latest offer.

19 December
Striking teachers in Quebec consider switching jobs rather than continuing fight for change
About 2,000 striking teachers attend free online seminar about transferring education, skills to new careers
(CBC) In the midst of ongoing strikes and negotiations between the Quebec government and various public-sector unions, the situation has taken a new turn as hundreds of teachers…contemplate throwing in the towel and leaving the profession altogether.
About 1,500 striking teachers attended a free, online workshop on Monday called “Building a future beyond education.”
The session was led by Maude Trépanier, a former teacher who resigned in March after 25 years in the public education system.
… This shift in career focus is a concern for the public school system, already hit by a wave of resignations in recent years.
According to a 2014 study commissioned by Quebec’s Ministry of Education, half of teachers leave the profession within the first five years.
Since the beginning of the FAE strike, which has now lasted for four weeks, there have been one to two resignations per school, according to Kathleen Legault, who heads the Association montréalaise des directions d’établissement scolaire (AMDE).

15 December
Toula Drimonis: Does the CAQ even care about education?
From attacking venerable anglo universities to playing hardball with striking teachers, this government is showing callous disregard.
This government has made clear it will recklessly use educational institutions as pawns for its culture wars, whatever the consequences. Showing disregard for venerable anglo universities, failing to consult, ignoring expert warnings, playing hardball with striking teachers — these are not the actions of a government that values education. …
If the government prioritized education, it would not sacrifice stellar Quebec universities on the altar of petty politics. It would not treat teachers’ salaries and educational funding as pesky expenses to be avoided. It would prioritize solutions that get kids back in classrooms ASAP.
Quality education — and access to it — should be treated as an investment and a public good to be cherished. It’s hard to imagine anyone might think otherwise. Except for Legault and his government.

10 December
Quebec Teachers Are Winning This Strike
Quebecers overwhelmingly back striking teachers as François Legault’s CAQ government plummets in the polls.
(The Rover) On Friday, the 66,000 teachers on strike with Fédération autonome des enseignants (FAE) were joined by over 420,000 public sector workers from Quebec’s four largest labour unions. The teachers have had an unlimited strike mandate since Nov. 23 and they’ll be on the streets until at least Dec. 14.
All told, roughly 10 per cent of the province’s workforce has been on the picket line this past month as negotiations continue to stall. That makes this the biggest labour dispute in North America since the AT&T strike of 1983.
Caught off guard by the scale of opposition to his government, Premier François Legault told reporters last week that teachers are practicing “emotional blackmail” and harming Quebec’s children. A few days later, Legault’s approval rating sank to 31 per cent, the lowest of any Canadian Premier according to a poll by Angus Reid. Just one year ago, Legault was far and away the most popular premier in the country.
A dozen teachers interviewed by The Rover say this is a sign of a government that’s lost touch with reality. The latest polling appears to bear this out.
Some 47 per cent of Quebecers support the striking public sector workers whereas just 28 per cent back the government’s position, according to a survey conducted in early November. A Léger poll published last week saw support for the workers increase to 53 per cent.
A deeper dive into the numbers suggests that support actually solidifies when broken down into specifics.
That same Léger poll shows a staggering 82 per cent of Quebecers supporting a raise for teachers so they can catch up to the Canadian average. The starting salary for a teacher in Quebec ($44,993) ranked second to last among Canadian provinces, according to a 2021 report by Stats Canada.

20 November
Teachers on Strike: What Does It Mean Exactly?
As of November 21st, a majority of Quebec public schools will be closed for three days, while others will be closed indefinitely. Parents and students alike will have no choice but to deal with the consequences.
4 November
Robert Libman: Legault in a jam against teachers and nurses
In the PR war for Quebecers’ support, the premier has shot himself in the foot with recent decisions that have damaged his credibility.
… The quality of our critical education and health care sectors and their ability to attract qualified personnel cannot afford to be weakened any further; otherwise, there is a risk of creating more social and economic damage. Employees who feel more valued are more productive. Investing in a more motivated public workforce — instead of one that feels cheated and underpaid — will pay long-term dividends. This trickle-down economic effect far outweighs the cost of current salary demands.

3 November
Legault has systematically targeted English education since taking power
From kindergartens to universities, Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government has repeatedly targeted English-language education with measures that attempt to limit enrolment and put more control in the hands of provincial politicians and bureaucrats.
Andy Riga
At times, he has been influenced by his former party, the more nationalistic, pro-sovereignty Parti Québécois. The PQ’s recent Quebec City byelection win and strong polling numbers have alarmed the CAQ.
Legault’s education moves have sparked outrage and legal battles among anglophones worried about institutions whose vitality is seen as crucial to keeping young people — the community’s future — from leaving the province

25-27 October
François Legault has concocted a threat to the French language that no one else can see
(Globe & Mail editorial board) This week, the heads of five French-language universities in Quebec, as well as two major francophone student groups, came out in opposition to the tuition increase, partly because they couldn’t see how it would protect the French language.
A columnist in Le Journal du Québec took the same position, and added that the fact that over half the province’s high-school students failed a standardized French spelling and grammar test in 2022 was a more pressing problem.

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