Posts tagged ‘PLQ’

June 20, 2018

Positive Changes Regarding Indigenous History; Stubborn Refusal to Fix Serious Problems with Representation of Minority Groups

CBC’s Mike Finnerty discusses the most recent changes with the Quebec history curriculum and the changes that still need to be made:

Press release:

June 18, 2018
Montreal, QC – The Committee for the Enhancement of the History Curriculum in Quebec (ComECH-Quebec) will
hold a press conference at June 19th at 8:30AM at the English Parent’s Committee Association office (7875 Chemin de la Côte-de-Liesse). We will respond to a memo the Ministry quietly sent to schools on May 31st announcing that the secondary three History of Quebec and Canada textbooks distributed to schools in the fall of 2016 would be replaced next year in order to better respond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“While we are encouraged that the Ministry seems to be taking concrete steps to listen to Indigenous communities, Image result for inclusive history quebecwe hope that it is the entire curriculum program that will be fixed and not merely the textbook, as was the case with the Sec 4 program” said ComECH-Quebec chairperson Robert Green. “We also hope that the Ministry is not intending to cherry-pick the TRC Calls to Action and leave out important recommendations such as the call to establish senior- level positions in government at the assistant deputy minister level or higher dedicated to Aboriginal content in education.”

The members of ComECH-Quebec will also describe their frustrating experience attempting to convince the current
Government of Quebec to address the very serious problems with the curriculum’s depiction of Anglophones and
other minority communities.

“We met with Greg Kelley, the Premier’s liaison to the English community and we had two meetings with
representatives from the Ministry” said Green. “We provided page references showing how this curriculum demonizes Anglophones, omits much of the history of Black Quebecers, reinforces negative stereotypes about Muslims, whitewashes Quebec’s history of xenophobia and antisemitism and fails to acknowledge the positive contributions to Quebec society of any of its minority groups. Not only did this government refuse to take action to fix these problems, it refused to even acknowledge that these were problems to begin with!”

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February 20, 2018

Black history gets short shrift in new Quebec textbooks

Published Feb 15, 2018 in the Montreal Gazette

By Robert Green

It seems a year doesn’t pass where we are not painfully reminded of the ignorance that large segments of our population have with respect to the history of black people living in the territory we now know as Quebec. From opposition to changing racist place names, to the public defence of the all too frequent donning of blackface, to the denials of the need to address systemic racism, in each case we hear a familiar refrain: Quebecers are not racist, and to suggest otherwise amounts to Quebec bashing.

As a teacher of Quebec history, I am always saddened by such reactionary sentiments. If we knew the truth about our own history, I believe such insensitive and defensive reactions would be far less frequent. Others might instead open their minds to the perspectives of their black fellow citizens, and in the process, help to create the kind of society where the voices and contributions of all citizens are valued, regardless of ethnicity or skin colour.

Indeed, this very sentiment was expressed in the preamble of the National Assembly’s 2006 proclamation of February as Black History Month in Quebec. It states that raising awareness about black history “helps to encourage the full participation of all in Quebec society, to promote inclusion and openness to pluralism and to strengthen intercultural rapprochement between all Quebecers.”

When the new government-approved Secondary 4 history textbook arrived in November, I was therefore curious to see to what extent it would reflect the National Assembly’s powerful words.

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June 10, 2017

Podcast: CBC Homerun asks if students should be paid $1000 to graduate

Millionaire businessman Mitch Garber has proposed to lower dropout rates in Quebec by paying graduates $1000. CBC Homerun host Sue Smith discusses this proposal with Westmount High teacher Robert Green.

While education professionals are ignored there is no shortage of hair-brained reforms being proposed by millionaires and celebrities.

May 6, 2017

CBC Daybreak on the call for a new inclusive History curriculum in Quebec

Members of ComECH-Quebec at May 2nd press conference.

Kativik School Board’s Robert Watt and ComECH-Quebec Chairperson Robert Green discuss the problem’s with Quebec’s recent History curriculum reform and the online petition calling for a new inclusive curriculum with CBC Daybreak’s Mike Finnerty:

 

Liberal MNA David Birnbaum attempts to defend the curriculum reform:

News release from Kativik School Board: The new History of Quebec and Canada curriculum is unacceptable

News release from ComECH-Quebec: Reforming the Reform: A Call for a New Inclusive History Curriculum

March 15, 2017

Podcast: Fundamental Problems Remain Following Latest Tweak to Quebec’s History Curriculum

Teacher Robert Green discusses the fundamental problems that remain with the Couillard Government’s latest tweak to the Secondary 3 and 4 history curriculum with CBC Radio Noon:

…and with CBC Home Run:

January 21, 2017

Podcast: Financial Literacy at the Expense of Political Literacy?

CJAD’s Leslie Roberts speaks with teacher Robert Green about the Quebec government’s proposal to introduce a financial literacy course at the expense of the Contemporary World course. Click here to download the podcast.

June 21, 2016

Petition and Open Letter: Stop testing Grade 6 students in Quebec with a ridiculous exam.

By Jo-Ann Connolly

Plea to parents and educators,

As a grade 6 teacher who has just finished correcting provincial math exams, I am convinced that our government has taken the wrong path in evaluating knowledge that our children in Quebec society have grasped through our educational system.  The exam is divided into 8 parts, with one large situational problem and 6 shorter applications.There is also a traditional multiple choice and quick answer booklet.

os-ed-standardized-testing-front-burner-intro--001There is no sound pedagogy in what the government is requesting from 11 and 12 year olds.  The applications took anywhere from 1 to 1 and a half hours, rather than the 20 to 30 minute time limit the government wanted.  The situational took 2 days rather than the 1 to 2 and a half hours.The children could not do this on their own, despite discussion beforehand to clarify exactly what was being requested of them.  The government is asking them to work in isolation on a budget proposal scenario which frankly is irrelevant for most children, and the steps involved are too complex.  Most twelve year olds do not hold the purse strings in their families.  They are lucky if they have an allowance.  Parents buy the necessities and children in poor neighbourhoods have never handled money. They may be able to find percents and calculate tax on an item when we scaffold the activities, but they have no idea what budgets and proposals are about.The applications are too long and the language is such that the child does not even know what is being asked.

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June 18, 2016

Quebec’s History Program Chaos

By Robert Green

This was an eventful week for Quebec’s History program. Thursday the Gazette published two excellent articles by Marian Scott about the reactions to the Education Minister’s flip-flop on his previous commitment to put the controversial new History curriculum on hold, and the decision of the English School Boards to implement this curriculum:

English school boards criticized for adopting Quebec history curriculum

Quebec lags in diversity education, comparison of history programs shows

I spoke with CJAD’s Tommy Shnurmacher about the History reform:

Later Thursday the CBC broke the story of the leaked essay question on the provincial History exam and the Ministry’s decision to not count the question:

Quebec students launch petition after history exam leak

I spoke with CBC Homerun’s Sue Smith about the history exam leak:

Friday the Gazette’s editorial board weighed in on the decision of the English School Boards to go ahead with the implementation of new History curriculum:

English school boards are failing history

June 4, 2016

CBC on Quebec’s Controversial New History Reform

An interview and an article from June 3rd:

https://images.thetrumpet.com/53875b37!h.300,id.10734,m.fill,w.540The Interview:
Robert Green speaks with CBC’s Sue Smith about the Couillard government backtracking on its commitment to postpone the implementation of its controversial reform of the province’s History curriculum. Stream the interview below or click here to download the mp3.

The Article:

Read Ben Shiller’s excellent article: English school boards to use controversial history course next year.

June 3, 2016

Quebec’s non-inclusive new history curriculum is a missed opportunity

By Robert Green | Published by Montreal Gazette June 1, 2016

Earlier this year, Quebecers learned of a reform to the province’s history curriculum that provoked a great deal of concern. Not only was the role of Quebec’s anglophone community reduced to that of a comic book villain intent on impeding progress, indeed the contributions of all of Quebec’s minority groups seemed to be systematically excluded. There was nothing about the anglophones who participated in the 1837 rebellions or organized some of Quebec’s first labour strikes; nothing about the struggles against discrimination faced by Jewish and Italian immigrants; nothing about the contributions of more recent immigrants, like the Vietnamese or Haitian communities.

However, perhaps the most significant omission had to dhttps://images.thetrumpet.com/53875b37!h.300,id.10734,m.fill,w.540o with the First Nations. This reform was being developed at the very moment the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made its recommendations. Specifically the TRC recommended that all levels of government “Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.” Quebec had a real opportunity to be the first province to implement the recommendation. Instead, by ignoring the TRC and refusing to engage in any meaningful consultation with First Nations communities, Quebec instead chose to reinforce the colonial pattern of relations that has existed for hundreds of years.

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May 21, 2016

CJAD Teachers Panel Discusses Recent Liberal Proposals for Education

Teachers Katharine Hogan and Robert Green discuss the many changes to Quebec’s education system that have been proposed in the last week with CJAD’s James Mennie. From the May 17, 2016 Tommy Shnurmacher Show. Stream the interview below or click here to download the mp3.

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November 3, 2015

Robert Green speaks with CBC’s Sue Smith about recent developments in negotiations with Quebec’s teachers

(the last 30 seconds of the interview unfortunately get cut off)

October 25, 2015

When it comes to funding education, Quebec’s Liberals govern like sociopaths

By Robert Green | Published Oct 14, 2015 by Ricochet.media

Government appears indifferent to the harm their policies cause to students

As public outrage over the Quebec Liberal government’s attacks on public education has grown, so too has the movement to surround schools in human chains on the first day of each month. Oct. 1 saw this movement not only grow to over 300 schools throughout Quebec, but also include a significant number of schools in the province’s English school boards which were participating for the first time.

The aim of this action was to send a clear message to Premier Philippe Couillard and his cadre: parents, teachers and support staff are united against the government’s attempt to balance its books on the backs of students. Of particular concern are proposals to remove limits on class size and cut a whole range of supports for students with special needs.

While the potent symbolism of community after community uniting to form a human chain in defence of their schools was not enough to persuade the government to change course, it did at least force the minister of education to publicly defend his actions.

His comments were disturbing to say the least. When asked why he would not restore funding for support for students with special needs, Education Minister François Blais stated that given Quebec’s current budget situation, such an investment would be “maladroit.” The minister was essentially saying that to leave in place existing supports for students with special needs would be “awkward” or “clumsy.”

A government of sociopaths?

Blais’ choice of words has left me with a serious question: Is Quebec’s Liberal government a government of sociopaths?

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September 23, 2015

Montreal teachers’ pressure tactics are taking a toll

Bt Katherine Wilton | Published September 22 by The Montreal Gazette

Excerpt:

Teachers are angry that Quebec wants to increase class sizes in high schools and elementary schools and is proposing to no longer consider whether a child has a learning disability when calculating class sizes. A few months before negotiations began in March on a new collective agreement with the province’s teachers, former Education Minister Yves Bolduc told reporters there was no clear link between smaller class sizes and student performance, citing a 2008 Université Laval study. The government also wants to increase the work week from 32 to 35 hours and is offering a three-per cent wage increase over five years.

To read the entire story and view the two videos of WHS teachers explaining why they are taking work action: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/montreal-teachers-pressure-tactics-are-taking-a-toll

 

September 21, 2015

Is striking an effective tactic for Quebec’s teachers?

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
–  Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity

By Robert Green

There is no question that the teachers of Quebec are angry. Already the lowest paid teachers in Canada, the government’s current salary offer would see Quebec teachers falling even further behind with their inflation-adjusted salaries decreasing by about 7% over 5 years. Of even greater concern is the fact that government is proposing to rid our contract of nearly every clause that protects our working conditions and the learning conditions of our students, from limits on class size to a range of supports for students with special needs.

It is an understatement to suggest that the teachers of Quebec want actions that will pressure government to back away from its most regressive proposals. Most teachers are ready to make personal sacrifices in pursuit of that goal. The question for Quebec’s teachers is: what sort of action will actually be effective in achieving this goal?

A grassroots push to work-to-rule

Last spring the members of the Montreal Teachers Association passed a motion in their annual general meeting stating that the action the members wanted to pursue was a work-to-rule campaign. The sentiment expressed by many MTA members was that the large number of unpaid hours worked by Quebec’s teachers was an enormous source of power. Given that teachers are not paid for enough hours to adequately do their job, withdrawing the volunteer labour done by teachers was seen by many as an effective way to create pressure within the system while avoiding the spectre of back-to-work legislation. Working to rule may not be as effective for other public sector unions but there was a strong sentiment that teachers were in a unique position to create real pressure with this tactic. There was also a feeling expressed that it would be far easier to build and maintain public support through a work-to-rule campaign than through a strike action which would create major inconveniences for families.

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