$200 to afford a less flat school

In order to increase the offer and accessibility of special educational programs (PPP), ministers Charest and Roberge announced a total investment of $29.5 million.

Thus, the costs of all PPPs in public secondary schools will be assumed by the schools, up to a maximum of $200. All parents of students enrolled in a PPP will benefit from this new measure, with the exception of those for whom the invoice was already free of charge.

According to the government, access to these programs will now be free for more than 60% of participants. Students registered in a PPP, for which the cost of access is greater than $200, will benefit from a reduction of $200 in their total bill.

The right target?

I would have liked to know the socioeconomic profile of the students affected by the measure. What is the financial situation of families of students participating in P3s? And what about students who do not attend a PPP?

The idea strangely reminds me of the recent $500 donation to all taxpayers with an income below $100,000. With a universal measure, we miss the mark. The $200 gift for specific programs does not solve accessibility problems for those who really need it. Furthermore, it seems to me inappropriate to subsidize places reserved for adolescents who attend a selective program.

My case will serve as an example. My three children will be in a special selective program at the high school near my home. The cost? About $500 per teenager. I will therefore be entitled to a $200 discount as the cost of my children’s PPP exceeds this threshold. In short, instead of costing me $1,500, registration will cost me $900 at the start of the 2022 school year. For your information, my annual family income is $185,000…

It’s a nice gift, but it’s far from necessary. And this is the case of several other families. Why not go there according to the pro rata of family income as some municipalities do in their agreements for recreation?

The flip side

This race to multiply special projects in our schools is, originally, a very interesting idea. We want to motivate young people and keep them in school. Who can be against virtue?

On the other hand, this way of conceiving the school has a perverse effect. Currently, the message is: school is boring, learning is boring, but at least you can do something other than boring classes.

You may have a real reason to go to school. Even if there are subjects you are forced to learn, your “choice” will help you endure this torture.

This vision of education takes us away from the pleasure of learning. When will learning be valued in all program subjects?

The other side of the PPP coin is that it relegates the importance of a general culture to the 2e rank.


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