Posted on | October 24, 2010 | 15 Comments
The CSQ, an union with a strong presence in the school system, demanded again this week to the minister of education the withdrawal of public funds to private schools and the end of selective programs in the public system. The union tried uneasily to justify this worn-out discourse by stating that this measure aimed to help young students with learning difficulties.
The union claims that this drains away strong student from so-called “normal” schools, thus concentrating the number of students with learning difficulties in the system. Being properly prepared to welcome these students is undoubtedly of crucial importance to our education system. The union’s proposal is for many reasons however thoroughly misguided.
First, public schools offering an enhanced program also answer an obvious need: that to maintain the necessary academic motivation of hundreds, thousands of young children who are often very gifted but not properly stimulated in the normal system. This does not incur additional costs since these school’s additional expenses are absorbed by charitable foundations, NPOs set up and managed by the parents for fundraising purposes.
As for private institutions, they are quite ready to welcome more kids with learning difficulties. In any case, the selection of students is not the main factor of increased success in private schools. Rather, the emphasis is on increased services to students, through additional extra-curricular activities for instance, which motivates and guides them throughout their studies.
Finally, it has to be mentioned that sometimes, parents who send their children in these institutions give a lot more importance to their children’s academic well-being and will not hesitate to invest time and money in order to ensure their success. This does not mean that other parents do not care, of course. But not everyone will be ready to sacrifice a trip to the Caribbean, or will be ready to re-mortgage the house in order to send their offspring to a private school.
What the CSQ really wants is a faire distribution of the teaching load amongst its members (and non-members, probably). Their previous argument is way off the mark, but the underlying need is actually quite valid. The CSQ should address it directly, demanding adjustments to the actual system: lowering the student/teacher ration according to the number of students with learning difficulties. Actively diagnosing these problems in children as soon as they arrive in school. Mandatory and subsidized continuing education for teachers and parents. New strategies to stimulate parents’ interest in their children’s education.
In shoving the problem aside, the CSQ may be thinking about its members, but it is unfortunately not thinking of the children who are faced with these problems, and not leading to any beneficial results to help them.