Find the community school

We wish everyone a good return, although it is not normal. Obviously because the students and the staff still have to wear their masks, because the legitimate fears related to the quality of the air in the classes are not raised, because the fear caused by the Delta variant, for the less than 12 years unvaccinated, is present. But it is also a different start because the necessary “village” surrounding families is gradually fading. In a context where we are concerned about the increase in school dropouts.

Do you know that African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child? Well, the support offered to families by this “village” is seriously damaged by the government storm that blew through our school democracy in 2020, at the same time increasing technocratic power, sweeping away the necessary consultation with all the forces in the community, leaving especially the community environment aside, while vulnerable families are in dire need of the support of the “village” during this troubled period.

In 2008, the elected members of the Movement for a Modern and Open School (MEMO) at the head of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) conducted public consultations which led to a large Montreal consensus on the so-called “school” approach. community ”, based on significant partnerships for the benefit of student success. This approach is presented as being “first and foremost a spirit in which an educational establishment is part of a way of being, of thinking and of acting on a daily basis. […] The challenge of the community school therefore lies, for the entire school team, in taking into account that the school establishment operates in a specific community and that this community contains values, a history, skills, in short, a culture to which the team must be open if it wishes to support its students towards success ”. We had also set up neighborhood school committees in order to unite our forces with all the partners in the community and to act on the success of the students. Last February, we invited the public to sign an education pact so that the government can lay the foundations for an education recovery plan. More than 3,666 citizens signed this pact in the hope that the Minister of Education would commit to conducting a consultation.

The structural changes in education introduced by the CAQ are at odds with this approach. Decisions are now centralized in Quebec City and the Minister of Education has become the sole master on board, relegating school service centers to the status of suppliers with the same practices, the same organizational culture, the same history and the same realities. Rouyn-Noranda to Sherbrooke via Montreal. From wall to wall!

The pandemic serves as a screen and obscures the effects of this technocratic centralization both on institutions and on staff, but above all on student success. Even with the most passionate, experienced and best trained teacher, if a student lives in a family struggling for survival in order to eat, find housing, ensure their safety, without being able to support their education or learning a new language and a new culture, this pupil and his family need the “village” more than ever to support them.

From the start of the school year last year, we deplored the hyper-centralized health reform and its disastrous impact on the care of the most vulnerable people. The same goes for education. Within MEMO, we defend the importance of local consultation as a pillar of change and mobilization in the service of academic success. We deeply believe in the importance of maintaining close ties in communities, knowing that school alone cannot meet all the needs of students. We reiterate our commitment to promote the vitality of this local level of consultation and to ensure student success and social cohesion.

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