An inclusive change in education “that Quebec needs”

Motivating projects for all students, regardless of their neighborhood or school level: the inclusive turn of the Center de services scolaire des Chênes, which aims to offer everyone special programs sometimes reserved for the most successful students, is hailed as an effort worthy of the best . practices in the world.

Far from lowering education, this school combination promotes the success of all students, sums up Professor Claire Lapointe. He has contributed to two major reports on the subject over the past decade. Finland and the Scandinavian countries, which have some of the strongest education systems, have opted for similar models, where students from all backgrounds gather in the classroom.

“When I see a school service center that says ‘The rest of us will have interesting projects for all the students,’ I think that’s what Quebec needs. We can’t afford to have an education system that prevents the success of a third of students, and even half of students in certain places in Montreal, ”says the retired professor of the Faculty of Science. of Education at Laval University.

Claire Lapointe was part of the committee of experts mandated by Quebec in 2014 to study school board funding and governance. In 2016, he also contributed to the famous report Focus on equityof the Higher Council of Education.

These two groups had concluded that Quebec’s education system was one of the most unequal in the country. Because ? Because of subsidized private schools and public schools that offer programs that select the strongest students. The so-called ordinary classes are with normal students. Parents and teachers who may run away from these groups are considered “difficult.” The gap is widening between privileged and disadvantaged environments.

The Finnish model

Professor Lapointe agrees with the L’École ensemble movement, which calls for a change inspired by the Finnish model. In this northern European country, private schools have become 100% state-funded independent public schools. All neighborhood schools must accept students from their territory, regardless of their academic performance. There are no selection criteria based on parent newsletters or income.

“The idea is not to pit the family units against each other. It is to avoid ‘winning the best’, that is, the richest, the most cultured, the most culturally favored,” explains Claire Lapointe.

The more diversified the classes — between boys and girls, between favored and disadvantaged students, between strong and weak students, or between ethnic backgrounds, for example — the higher the success rate of all young people, according to studies reported by teacher. .

For this reason, the Committee of Experts on Funding and School Governance had recommended in 2014 that “school groups be set up in such a way as to represent the social diversity of the school environment; that special projects continue to be promoted in Quebec schools, but that they should be accessible to all interested young people; and that the selective projects are reserved for especially talented students, especially in the arts or music, or for the sports elite ”.

This is exactly the project to walk at the Oak School Service Center in the Drummondville area, described Tuesday a Duty.

Vulnerable students

Independent economist Jean-Pierre Aubry, who closely follows the governance and funding of education, believes that this change requires a massive investment to help the most vulnerable students. “Students in difficulty should receive support very soon. If the students are behind all the others at the end of primary school or at the beginning of secondary school, they are finished, ”he recalls.

The expert notes that the Legault government has invested heavily in education since the beginning of its term, but that the recent budget, presented last month, included very few new grants for vulnerable students. In any case, labor shortages deprive schools of room for maneuver: Quebec can promise sea and world, candidates are sorely lacking to fill teaching positions and other categories of staff, says Jean-Pierre Aubrey.

For its part, the Federation of Private Education Institutions (FEEP) points out that classes in private schools are generally diversified in all respects. Many welcome students with learning difficulties. Disadvantaged students also have access to scholarships, the FEEP points out.

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