(Quebec) While recognizing that parents should show their discontent, the minister of Education François Blais said he was concerned on Tuesday by the use of children in the formation of human chains around schools.
“What disappoints me, is the question of the children. It is the use of children this [Tuesday] morning, to shoot slogans they don’t understand”, was launched by the minister during a press conference following the visit to the school of the Star, in Saint-Nicolas, the only new school to open its doors in the region of Quebec this year.
It is as a father and not as a minister of Education that Mr. Blais said of the fact that they be made manifest in young people. “Children should not be involved in politics, especially when they don’t understand, in a context where the smaller ones, may experience anxiety to go back to school.”
Depending on the group I protect my public school, approximately 20,000 parents and children are given the hand around 270 schools across Quebec, a few minutes before the back-to-school Tuesday morning. They were protesting against the cuts made by the liberal government who threaten, according to them, the quality and the sustainability of the public school.
At école St-Paul-Apostle, in Limoilou, students “love”… (The Sun, Frédéric Matte) – image 2.0
At école St-Paul-Apostle, in Limoilou, students “like” their school.
In Quebec, such rallies were held in front of a dozen schools. A hundred people gathered at the primary school of St. Paul the Apostle, in Limoilou, while 150 were at the école Sacré-Coeur, Saint-Sauveur.
“The parents are galvanized. It can’t be ignored now,” said the Sun Pascale Grignon, mother and spokesperson for the movement.
She would like to clarify that the teachers unions have “nothing to do” in this movement, and that if children are involved, it is the choice of their parents. “Our children ask us. They note differences at school, then it is a positive way to answer their questions,” says MI Grignon.
Nicole Leger, spokesman for the Parti québécois in education, has requested that the minister Blais to “take its responsibilities” and to “hear the voice of the parents”, instead of trying to make a “diversion” in speaking of the involvement of children in human chains.
“Bad choice” of school boards
According to the minister, if parents complain that they receive less services this year, this is not the fault of the budget cuts of 1% that the government has requested. Rather, we need to take it to some school boards, which have, according to him, failed to redeploy their services.
“There are school boards that pass through these cuts-there much better than others, [ … ] That may be the wrong choice, it can be also problems of management within the school boards”, he argued in point of press.
The minister believes that the concern ambient is powered by “half-truths” conveyed in the media. For example, he argues that the budget allocated for students with disabilities or learning difficulties, which amounted to $ 2.3 billion, remained the same.
He also said Tuesday that teachers are paid for 40 hours, and not 32, as contended by the trade unions. Yet, in the collective agreement 2010-2015 teachers, it is clearly stated that the week of work at school is 32 hours.
Julie White, press attaché to the minister, said later in the day that 40 hours of work (which also includes time spent in the home) had been accorded to teachers of quebec (in 2002, following discussions on pay equity, and that it is on this basis that they are paid.