Coming out of a pandemic that has shaken us collectively, it is time for observations. Parents, students, and teachers have seen the flaws of a three-tier education system that has ensured that our children have not been treated the same.
In addition, we have the opportunity to act now to rethink Quebec’s education system in order to make it fairer and more efficient. Since the report was published in 2016 Focus on equity by the Board of Education, it is no longer possible to ignore the fact that Quebec’s education system violates the principle of equal opportunities. The Council’s conclusions are clear: Quebec’s system is the most unequal in the country.
Quebecers as a whole are dissatisfied with the education system and are prepared for major changes. According to a CROP survey commissioned by the École ensemble, one in two Quebecers thinks that the education system has deteriorated over the past three years, while only 10% of the population believe it has improved. According to the same survey, 91% of Quebecers also believe that the government should make school system reform a priority.
We speak today on the initiative of the École ensemble, a citizen movement that aims to ensure that Quebec students learn together, regardless of their socioeconomic background. We believe that it is possible to end competition in education, which allows schools to choose their students while they are largely subsidized by all taxpayers.
The great international models should inspire us. The Finnish model, in which private schools were integrated into a common system with public schools during the 1970s, is one of them. Finnish private schools have maintained their legal status, their autonomy and have equipped themselves with a school pool like public schools. They have lost their right to charge school fees now with public funding, such as public schools. Finnish private schools have given up any desire for exclusivity and are involved in the overall effort to educate children in the country with the success we know.
CROP also measured the interest in the common Finnish education system among Quebec parents. The results are astonishing: 85% of parents say that this common education system is a very or very interesting model, and 95% of them are in favor of the implementation of the Finnish common system in Quebec.
Inspiration must also come … from Quebec. The report of the Parents’ Commission, a real compass for our education system, proposed to distinguish private centers of public interest from those that are not. The members of the commission therefore proposed the creation of two statutes, private schools and semi-public schools, because “doing the opposite would be tantamount to the state competing with itself with its own funds and devaluing public education. . »
Of course, things have changed since the 1960s and must take into account realities that did not exist then (selective public schools, for example) to ensure equity in our education system. This is the task of the École ensemble. His plan to ensure equal opportunities in education will be made public in a few weeks. We invite all our fellow citizens who believe in the importance of education for Quebec to a great collective discussion on this proposal.
Guy Rocher, sociologist
Guy ROCHER sociologist, member of the parent committee
Claude CHAGNON Chairman of the Board, Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation
Patricia CLERMONT spokeswoman, I protect my public school
Marysa NADEAU recovery teacher, Portages-de-l’Outaouais CSS
Claude LESSARD President, School Together; former president of the Higher Education Council Suzanne CHARTRAND coordinator, Debout pour l’école!
Michel PERRON sociologist, founder of the Regional Council for the Prevention of School Dropout Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean
Canisius KAMANZI Professor, University of Montreal
Mélanie PARÉ Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Montreal
Marc ST-PIERRE consultant in school administration, government and educational success