(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.
Appele press conference link