AngryFrenchGuy

Is Yolande James Endorsing Québec Private Schools over Public Schools?

with 34 comments

I was looking for the sports pages in La Presse this morning when a 60 page full color catalog for Québec’s public schools network called Le Privé fell into my lap.

The marketing insert is published by the Fédération des Établissements d’Enseignement Privés du Québec and features descriptions of Québec’s many private schools and sappy testimonials by famous Québécois including 2006 patriot of the year Luck Merville, Université de Montréal vice-rector Rachida Azdouz and Provincial Immigration and cultural communities minister Yolande James.

Let’s be clear, the magazine format notwithstanding, this is a publicity insert that was bundled with cell phone, electronics and appliance publicity inserts.  The FÉEP is a lobby group for private schools.  Schools run as businesses who sell their products to Québec parents. It’s also a heavily subsidized industry as Québec private schools can receive as much as 60% of their funding from the provincial government.

Is it appropriate for a cabinet minister to be featured in such a publicity insert?  Doesn’t it look as if she is endorsing private schools over public schools?  Is this not clearly a conflict of interest?

What if she was posing on a Bombardier or a RioTintoAlcan insert?  Or in a Dairy Producers of Québec marketing magazine?

The interviewees do not endorse any schools or private schools in general and only talk about diversity and multiculturalism.  Someone knew there was something wrong or at the very least controversial about a minister endorsing private schools and made sure she did not actually pronounce the words.  But her pictures and testimonials in a magazine solely devoted to private schools IS an endorsement.

Only yesterday Parti québécois education critic Louise Harel called for a moratorium on new private schools until the public sector is fixed.

The multicultural message peddled by the private schools is quite hypocritical since, while Montreal’s public schools are very diverse, publicly financed private schools are allowed to have clearly ethnic missions and Montreal has a whole bunch of these ghetto Armenian and Jewish schools.

In 1975 10% of Québec schoolchildren went to private schools.  Today it’s one third.  The public system is running the risk of becoming a welfare school for only the poorest of the poor who can’t afford to go to the ‘good’ schools.  No other province in Canada is as generous with private schools.  Ontario doesn’t give them a dime.  Québec has created a de facto voucher system.

This is what Yolande James endorsed today.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

September 12, 2008 at 10:30 am

34 Responses

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  1. “…the public schools who don’t have the privilege of excluding the poorest of the poor, the kids living in problematic family environments and those with learning disabilities.”

    I can’t disagree with these points.

    Acajack

    September 15, 2008 at 3:04 pm

  2. “AFG, if you are bringing these kids back to public, it will cost the government $450 million more, NOT less.”

    That’s pretty much what I wrote…

    “Now, if a kid goes from private to public, he costs the government $10K when before he cost $6K. That is $4K EXTRA per student.”

    Not every student. Just the 145 000 that go to private schools now. Or the 75% of them – 114 000 – that we are assuming would go back to the public schools if we removed the subsidies.

    “The $1.14 billion you mention is reinjected into the public system, but on a per student basis, there is no increase (you are still spending $10K per student).”

    There is no increase in the spending per student, but the money is now spent on public infrastructure.

    Again. 1.14 is the 450 new millions it would cost to stop subsidizing private schools + the 700 000 000 million the government currently gives to private schools. So it IS 1.14 billion brand new bucks to the Public schools.

    Encore Again. These 114 000 kids currently cost the system 684 million dollars (114 000X6000$). Bring them to the public and they cost 1.4 billion (114 000X10 000$). That’s about 450 million dollars more. But now the entire 1.14 billion is used to build gyms and labs, and to hire teachers for the public schools.

    “Also, the government has to come up with an extra $450 million which would come from other programs (such as welfare, health care and crime-fighting that comes with poor urban schools) or from an increase in taxes.”

    Yes it would have to come up with the money, but my argument is better public schools decrease the cost of said welfare, health care and crime-fighting.

    The rich provinces in Canada don’t finance private schools, or at least not as much. All of the sudden you guys are arguing that Québec has the BEST school system in the country? Come on, you know that’s not what this is about…

    angryfrenchguy

    September 15, 2008 at 3:04 pm

  3. “So it IS 1.14 billion brand new bucks to the Public schools.”

    Exactly what I said: “The $1.14 billion you mention is reinjected into the public system…”

    “That’s about 450 million dollars more. But now the entire 1.14 billion is used to build gyms and labs, and to hire teachers for the public schools. ”

    I am not sure what you are arguing here. What you say is true, but you would still be spending the same a “per student” so I don’t see how the quality of education in the public sector would go up (assuming more money means more quality – this could be argued).

    “All of the sudden you guys are arguing that Québec has the BEST school system in the country?”

    I for one, never once said that.

    AM

    September 15, 2008 at 3:43 pm

  4. “The rich provinces in Canada don’t finance private schools, or at least not as much. All of the sudden you guys are arguing that Québec has the BEST school system in the country? Come on, you know that’s not what this is about…”

    The other provinces didn’t have a history of most higher education being provided by religious orders, collèges classiques, as they were called. These institutions were private and charged tuition fees, most even had boarders.

    The quiet revolution brought into place the education ministry and public CEGEPs but did not outlaw private secondary colleges.

    Quebec has the best private school network in Canada, and now the do gooder socialists would have it eliminated in order to fight crime and every other thing wrong with society. Go figure

    Dave

    September 16, 2008 at 8:15 am


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