The following presentation was delivered to a Community Conference for Parents sponsored by the Department of Administration and Policy Studies in Education, McGill University in collaboration with the Quebec Anglophone citizens’ organization known as “Alliance Quebec.” It was first published in the editorial section of The Gazette, Montreal, March 4, 1983 under the headline: “Quebec moves to influence courses and young minds” and again in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Wednesday, June 13, 1984 under the headline: Quebec Curriculum will promote obsolescence.
During the long struggle against former Education Minister, Camille Laurin’s plans to realign and centralize Quebec’s education systems a profound public concern developed over the question of what is to be taught in our schools.
That concern revolved around two fundamental issues which have yet to be satisfactorily resolved.
The first is a growing suspicion among Quebeckers that the role of the state in Quebec’s schools is reaching proportions beyond the requirements of our democratic pluralistic society. The second is a deep seated concern that heavily centralized mechanisms for the development of school curricula may be generating programs that are unable to satisfy the future needs of our children.
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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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By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks
This short article was written after some 60% of Quebeckers voted no to the Parti Quebecois government’s request for a mandate to negotiate “sovereignty-association” with Canada. It was published in the News and Chronicle, Montreal, May 29, 1980.
We know from the results of last week’s referendum that supporters of Quebec independence are clearly in the minority. Ninety –three out of one hundred and ten ridings responded “non” even to the soft request for a mandate to negotiate sovereignty-association. The popular vote swung roughly sixty-forty against Premier Levesque’s “oui” option.
Nevertheless, it was clear from the Premier’s remarks to his followers immediately after the vote that he did not regard the results as definitive and final. Federalism, he said, has been given “one more chance” but remains on trial.
Among the partisan cheers in the Paul Sauve arena he clearly implied that the PQ objective of a sovereign Quebec remained legitimate in spite of its rejection by a majority of the province’s citizens.
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