This article focuses on PQ Education Minister, Camille Laurin’s proposal to weaken the mandate of locally elected school boards and transfer important decision making powers to the Quebec Minister of Education. It was published in The Gazette, Montreal, September 14, 1983 under the headline: “New education bill will spin fine web of authority” and again in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Wednesday November 16, 1983 under the headline: Bill 40 will not develop new form of democracy.
Camille Laurin, Quebec’s education Minister, may claim to be developing a new form of democracy, but his most recent blueprint still displays a determination to create a web of authority that reaches into every corner of the province.
If Bill 40 is enacted into law it will create a new and important vehicle for a political party whose primary aim is the wholesale reconstruction of Quebec society. A new system will be developed through which all substantive elements of Quebec education can be controlled and monitored by the minister.
Laurin’s original intention to eliminate locally elected school boards was not well received by the Quebec public. As a consequence, Bill 40 has introduced some new elements in an effort to make the Minister’s original plans more palatable.
Instead of entirely abolishing locally elected school boards, the bill would simply remove their authorship to develop educational policy. A cursory examination of the responsibilities and powers being allotted to the “new boards” indicates an abrupt end to any role they have been able to play in the more formative aspects of public education.
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This article was published in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Thursday, April 22, 1982 under the headline “Laurin should not call the tune on education” and again in The Gazette, Montreal, September 16, 1982 under the headline: “Quebec parents about to lose their say in education.”
Education Minister, Camille Laurin’s recent white paper entitled The Quebec School, may not make great summer reading, but his proposals should be fully understood by all Quebecers.
The Minister proposes to eliminate two strongly established elements of our education system with one stroke of his pen.
First he intends to change the present denominational alignment of Quebec’s school boards in favour of an essentially unified school system. Secondly, he aims to eliminate the democratic and truly “public” character of the school boards themselves.
By claiming to make the school the focal point of Quebec’s new educational order, Laurin’s plan will eliminate the historic recognition of two complementary yet culturally independent education systems in the province.
For all intents and purposes, the Minister proposes to create a common education system through which the provincial government will control all major functions such as the development of the school curriculum, the certification of teachers and the distribution of the budget.
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This article focuses on the P.Q. Government’s plans to restructure the provinces education system. It was published in the Calgary Herald, March 25, 1982.
The Quebec government will soon introduce legislation that would abolish locally-elected, confessional school boards and redesign Quebec’s education system around unified regional councils that would bring schools more directly under the control of the province’s Ministry of Education. The move has alarmed some Quebeckers, and in this article, William Brooks, a Montreal school commissioner, looks at the issue in the context of what he sees as; the growing centralist tendencies of the Quebec government. He believes “all Canadians should be aware of what we are facing in Quebec.”
Quebec’s scheme to realign and centralize the province’s education structures must be viewed in the context of the larger dilemma that is engulfing Quebec democracy.
The problem stems from a profound public absentmindedness about the historic role of government in our society. We once assumed that “… that government is best which governs least.”
Our constitutional democracy was based on a healthy mistrust of government and aimed to limit the conditions under which the coercion of individual citizens was possible.” Good government” simply meant a viable frame work for peace order and personal freedom.
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By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks
Following the publication of a green paper on education, the Quebec Ministry of Education decided to revise much of the province’s public school curriculum. One of the most controversial programs then under revision was the compulsory Canadian history course given at the Secondary IV level. The following case against that program was first published in the West Island News and Chronicle on Tuesday, November 15, 1979. It was later published as a cover story in Teaching History by the (British) Historical Society, London, UK, October 1980.
The Case: `Where is freedom when you cannot protect your children against Marxist and separatist teachings by some professor and your children are told you are a foul bourgeois and an exploiter?” – Roger Lemelin, President and Publisher of La Press, Montreal.
Recently the Quebec Ministry of Education has produced a combination of documents which amount to a detailed outline for a new history course. Since the new “Histoire Nationale” will be compulsory for all Quebec students wishing to obtain a high school leaving certificate, it would be valuable for all citizens and parents to know what it proposes to teach.
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