Seismic changes to Québec education School board elections not banned; history revision to be revised

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Nick Seebruch

Québec Minister of Education Sébastien Proulx has announced that he will be postponing the new Québec high school history curriculum and scrapping Bill 86 all together.

Nick Seebruch

Québec Minister of Education Sébastien Proulx has announced that he will be postponing the new Québec high school history curriculum and scrapping Bill 86 all together.
The new high school curriculum was formulated by the previous Parti Québecoise government and has been running as a pilot project in some Québec high schools. The curriculum was criticized by some educators for ignoring the contributions of Anglophones and First Nations peoples to the history of Québec.
“In the Quebec school system, which I have experienced as a student, there were always at least two versions, if not more, of the results of events and of the events themselves,” said James Shea, Chairman of the Western Québec School Board. “I am  concerned about revisionist history that wants to put a different interpretation on facts to support current political perspectives.”  Shea emphasized that these where his personal reflections on the proposed curriculum.
Now that the implementation of the curriculum will be postponed, Shea hopes to be a part of an ad hoc committee which will propose changes.  “We should be consulting with experts on the curriculum,” Shea said. “We will give our input on the contributions of Anglophones to Québec history. There is a clear need for us to work together.”
The curriculum is split into two parts, one for secondary 3 students and one for secondary 4.
“The minister’s objective is to await results of secondary pilot project in four before making it compulsory for both levels,” said Bryan St-Louis, a Media Relations Officer with the Ministry of Education in a statement to the Journal. “Several consultations were held and improvements are constantly made. The goal is that the new program is as representative and inclusive as possible.”
In a joint conference between the Québec English School Boards Association and the Association of Administrators of English Schools of Québec on May 13, the Minister addressed the curriculum issue and also made the announcement that Bill 86 would be scrapped entirely.
Bill 86 was proposed by the Liberal government and would have immediately abolished elected school boards in Québec.
James Shea, as  President of the Regional Association of West Québecers, had made a presentation to a government committee on Bill 86 explaining his organizations opposition to it on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The Canadian Constitution guarantees regional minorities the right to elect their own school boards.
Shea said that the Minister was greeted with a standing ovation, which is a very different welcome than he received at the last conference.
“The Minister said that over the last four months he has heard from everyone on Bill 86 and has taken that input into account,” said Shea. “Parents and the community are important stake holders in schools,” Shea continued.
Instead of Bill 86, the Minister said that as a part of the government’s new approach to education, they would instead be proposing to have more kindergarten classes, starting at four years-old and making school mandatory until 18
years-old.