Parents of kids at English Montreal School Board schools believe commissioners don’t give a whit about their views, according to the 2015 Parent Opinion Survey by the EMSB Central Parents Committee (CPC).
The survey showed over 69.4 percent of respondents don’t believe commissioners value parent opinions, while less than a third agree that parent opinions are even considered.
After months of controversy over efforts by the EMSB council to block the survey until it was satisfied it had adequate input, the CPC shared the collective views of parents who have sent a clear message, says CPC chair Pietro Mercuri. “Our elected commissioners did everything they could to obstruct the survey and deny parents the right to be heard. But that didn’t stop us. Parents have prevailed and the results speak for themselves.”
CPC vice-chair Andrew Ross says parents have lost confidence in the current council structure and feel that it no longer represents them. “Parents want significant change, with the authority and responsibility that comes with it. It is now up to Quebec’s Education Ministry to make sure that happens.”
Some 92 percent of respondents felt parent commissioners—currently denied the right to vote at council by law—should be entitled to full voting privileges, something signalled in the works by Education Minister François Blais to reform what most people agree is a dysfunctional system.
Meanwhile, quality of education in the classroom received very high marks, with English instruction at all levels satisfying over 91.9 per cent of parents. For French instruction the grade fell to 73.7 per cent.
“Our teachers are the lifeblood of our public school system, and these results show that parents are very pleased with the job they are doing,” said
Mercuri. “It is a further demonstration of the trust the parents have for the teachers that care for their children each school day.”
The EMSB’s submission to the Election Systems Study Panel sponsored by the Quebec English School Boards association and other groups outlines constitutional arguments in favour of the status quo while linking the role of commissioner to the success of children. “The relationship developed by the parents with the commissioner is based on trust” it reads, adding “the accomplishments achieved by the entire system have much to do with dedication of the elected people who work tirelessly on its behalf.”
QESBA’s own brief to its own panel included a survey of commissioners’ compensation, roles and more, with such illustrious responses when asked about remuneration as “None of your business.”
The Parent’s survey received complete responses from 842 EMSB families from 48 of 51 EMSB elementary and high schools. More results will be made available at www.EMSBParents.org in the coming weeks.