Appele Press Conference – EPCA President’s Speech

English Parents Committee Quebec

APPELE-Québec Proposes Path for Breaking Impasse on Bill 40

(February 3, 2020) – Montreal, QC

Appele Press Conference - EPCA President's Speech

Good morning everyone, let me first start by explaining who we are. The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) is a corporation funded by the government of Quebec. It represents all parents in Quebec whose children attend schools in Anglophone school boards. There is a clear consensus among those parents that the priority in education is about student outcomes: to prepare our children so that they will be ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Let's be clear! We at EPCA are representing the ones who have the most vested interest in the success of our students. Do we represent teachers, administrators, bureaucrats or school commissioners?

The answer is No! We represent the voice of the parents.

The 16 EPCA directors are elected from the Parents' Committees at eight of the nine English-language school boards in Quebec. Their opposition to aspects of Bill 40 is clear, and EPCA adds its voice to call for a comprehensive consultation as a prerequisite to any substantial educational reform.

For too long, the consumer has walked in the store ready to purchase bread, the store owner has taken the money and given the consumer a bag of chips. The consumer is then told that it’s more nutritious.

Are parents truly getting their money’s worth with regards to the education of their children?

EPCA asserts that parents want a high-quality bilingual educational system that will ensure its graduates flourish in Quebec and maintains that improved student outcomes should always be the focus of any reform regardless of language and election cycle.

We do commend the government for seeing the importance and necessity of returning greater control to the consumer, who are the parents.
We are however concerned about the transition and the resources to enable the parents to succeed in these new roles.
Other concerns are the students with special needs and of course students found in remote locations.

Change is good. Change is needed. However, it must emerge under the right conditions. We know that the many other stakeholders in the educational system also have views on how to improve it. Certainly, the most central player, the Ministère de l’Éducation, has a critical role in any reform. But we believe the proposed Bill 40 fails to go beyond the Ministère and its perspective on the system. Many of the needs for educational reform are not as evident on the Grande Allée as they are on Rue Principale. We urge the government to be courageous and open this process to all stakeholders across the province. The future of our educational system is far too important to be left solely in the hands of the bureaucracy.

All too often history bears witness against the practice of rushing policy.

Should this be done without critical thought by all involved, the cost will be heavy, the majority of which will be absorbed, not by the law makers, but on the children themselves and the ones with the most vested interest: the parents.

Resources
Appele press conference link
https://appelequebec.org/2020/02/03/appele-quebec-proposes-path-for-breaking-impasse-on-bill-40/

EPCA Press Release 01-15-2020

English Parents Committee Quebec

For Immediate Release

EPCA elects new leadership

(January 15, 2020) – Montreal, QC

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson, Central Quebec School Board, was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. Serving as vice-president of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest..

Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees with their mandates since 2009. EPCA also helps train Parent Committees and represents stakeholders’ interests to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur.

For more information contact: Katherine Korakakis (514) 778-3722



(January 15, 2020) – Montreal, QC

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson, Central Quebec School Board, was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. Serving as vice-president of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest..

Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees with their mandates since 2009. EPCA also helps train Parent Committees and represents stakeholders’ interests to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur.

For more information contact: Katherine Korakakis (514) 778-3722

Press Release November 22, 2019 Bill 40

Montreal, November 22, 2019
The English Parents Committee Association (EPCA) is denouncing the paraphrasing used by the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge in the National Assembly yesterday on the comments made by EPCA Vice-President Katherine Korakakis during the parliamentary commission on Bill 40.

The Minister of Education used Ms. Korakakis’s statement in his own context. “The Minister of Education used my name to try and promote his bill in the National Assembly in the wrong context,” said Vice-President Katherine Korakakis.

“EPCA is not in favour of Bill 40 and if he had listened through the entire proceeding he would have understood our position as clearly as the other Members of the National Assembly on the Culture and Education Committee.

EPCA sees no added value to student success or to our community with this bill. It should be withdrawn and all education stakeholders should have a voice in the future of our extremely successful public education system,” concluded the Vice-President.

Annual General Assembly

Notice

English Parents' Committee Association

Annual General Assembly

(This event is by Invitation-only)


Date: Saturday, November 30th, 2019
Location: 2599 Blvd Alfred Nobel, Saint Laurent, QC H4S 0A9
9:00am Meet and Greet Breakfast
10:00am Annual General Assembly
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Strategic Development Session
On the needs of Parents’ Committees of Québec

A Vital Task for the National Assembly

Notes for remarks by

The English Parents Committee Association

Regarding Bill 40

To the

Committee on Culture and Education

National Assembly of Québec

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The English Parents Committee Association demands high performance from our schools, teachers and administrators. As parents, our two prime concerns about any given education policy come down to:

1. Will it increase the graduation rate of Quebec schools?

2. Will it make our graduates better equipped to deal with the world?

EPCA is disheartened to see that the government put all its attention and resources into producing a bill that targets neither the quality of education nor the graduation rate in Quebec.

We have, however, taken note of what the government hopes to achieve with this bill, and we would like to offer some comments about these goals, as well as suggestions that might make this bill more effective at achieving its stated goals. In this process we hope that the bill may be amended to make improve educational outcomes.

1. Regarding the government’s goal of providing autonomy for schools and proximity to the community in decision-making: we appreciate and applaud the minister in wanting to bring the parents closer to the decision-making process. However, there are several aspects of the new model that raise concerns and problems for us, and may indeed undermine the stated intention of proximity to the community:

a. The new model provides no specifics regarding representation on the service centre Board of Directors of special needs, elementary, high school and vocational communities. Each of these sectors has its own characteristics and distinct needs and should be represented by parents involved with them. We believe the bill would be more effective if it is amended to specify this aspect of representation on the Board. At a minimum, it is urgent to ensure that a parent of a special needs student is included on the Board.

b. The new model, by contrast, provides very specific criteria for the community representatives who will replace the existing elected commissioners (i.e. one each from the financial sector, sports and leisure, human resources, etc.). We see it as highly unlikely that the people with these backgrounds are likely to step forward spontaneously to run for these positions, particularly in rural areas. Better that the criteria for community representatives be made less specific, and that these representatives be vetted and nominated by the community they serve.

c. For community representatives, there is also no provision for the cost of running a campaign, which will limit the pool of candidates to those who can afford this cost. Better that there should be clear provisions for reimbursement of campaign costs. This way, the diverse range of a community’s interests can be reflected in its representatives.

d. The parents in the territory of a service centre should form the electorate for the parent members of the service centre Board of Directors.

e. The parent members of the Board must also be members of the parent committee of the service centre. While other Board members are supported by their respective organizations and associations, parent representatives are lone agents in this new model. However, as members of parent committees, parent representatives would benefit (in terms of communications, proximity to other parents), and be able to provide more effective representation. 

2. Regarding the government’s intention to reduce bureaucracy, we fear that the outcome will be more likely a hollowing-out of the education system. This bill removes intermediaries between parents and the ministry that have helped us in the past to refine and play a more effective role in the governance of our schools. When there is consultation on new decrees by the ministry, it will fall to the Governing Board to do much more of this work, to go through documentation and articulate their responses. We believe it is important to maintain the existing consultative process through parents committees, as well as Governing Boards. Both parents committees and Governing Boards are being put in a position to fail, asked to do more without the resources or compensation to do this work effectively. 

3. Regarding the government’s intention to remove politics from education, we see the likely outcome as removing democracy from education.

a. While the English sector retains elections at large for community representatives to the service centre Board of Directors, this electoral process is enfeebled and attenuated. The school electoral list for the English minority previously used for this vote must be maintained, and it should be easy to get onto this list; a matter of showing up, identifying and voting.

b.We would have hoped to see the elections integrated with municipal elections, for example, and otherwise reinforced and helped to reach out to the community, rather than narrowing the base of the electorate and limiting the representativeness and legitimacy of these bodies. It is not too late for this Assembly to modify these details of the bill to retain and reinforce the community outreach of this electoral process that has historically been an important event in the English-speaking community. 

4. We come now to the government’s intention to save $45 million over the next four years. In our view, this saving is on the back of parents. The elimination of school commissioners and elections to make these savings will mean more responsibilities for Governing Boards, for example, but there is little recognition of what this means for the individuals in this volunteer ecosystem. We are all working in the system that educates Quebec children, from the Minister to the rookie parent on the local parent committee; but I ask you who are here today at this committee: how many of you could do your jobs effectively if you were working on a volunteer basis and paying your own expenses, your own babysitting costs? If you expect more from this part of the system, you must provide it with adequate resources and compensation.

To conclude, we note that this bill has not emerged from any white paper or clear intention to improve education in Quebec. It offers no metrics that matter to us, such as improving the graduation rate and the quality of education.

The existing School Board system is a community-based intermediary between the school and the Education Ministry, and an important institutional support to parents; and we see the new service centres proposed to replace them as having uncertain legal status, with leadership clearly answerable to the ministry before parents, teachers or administrators. Without amendment, this bill is a disaster for our schools and the communities they support.

We encourage this Assembly to look long and hard at this bill, and to be ready to amend it in the interest of the quality of education in Quebec. 

1 2 3 9