More than a dozen groups within the education sector, including unions, are asking Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge to think and wait before going ahead with school board reforms.
The groups want the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to delay the adoption of Bill 40 until more consultations are held about the future of schools and public education.
“Our educational system deserves a true reflection including all stakeholders,” said Alain Fortier, the president of the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec (FCSQ).
The bill would eliminate school boards and replace them with service centres, giving more power to parents and the government.
The government held a week of consultations at the National Assembly, but many groups felt like they were ignored and left out.
They say the proposed law, as it is, does not help improve the quality of education for students and would put too much pressure on parents.
The bill gives parents a big role in service centres. They would be at the helm of a board of directors along with community members and staff.
Marc Étienne Deslauriers, president of the Commission Scolaire de Montreal’s (CSDM) parents’ committee, called the bill a “mirage,” explaining that in reality there would be a “loss of influence for parents and their participation in the organization.”
The groups, which ranged from the Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) to the Federation of School Boards of Quebec, compared the bill to the controversial health reform passed by the previous Liberal administration.
They called that reform a disaster and pleaded with the minister to reconsider his approach.
“There is absolutely no rush to get something like this adopted,” said Russell Copeman, the executive director of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).
“The government should take a step back, properly consult the educational network and come forward with a plan that finds some consensus in society. There is no consensus in society.”
A spokesperson for Roberge told Global News that the government is working on improvements to the bill at this time, but that there is no plan to withdraw it.