In St. Vital and across the province, we know that our schools are the beating hearts of our communities. Schools where our children go to learn not only about math, literacy and science but also how to be active and engaged citizens in the world around them.
On March 15th, the long-awaited K-12 education review and the accompanying Education Modernization Act, Bill 64, was released. It’s clear that in Bill 64, the Pallister government is planning to do to education what it had already started to do to health care - cut funding and centralize power at the cabinet table and make things more challenging for the most marginalized individuals in our community.
Bill 64 removes all locally elected school boards and trustees, eliminating Louis Riel School Division and combining it with all others in Winnipeg - creating a school region with over 100,000 students. This bill replaces locally elected representation with volunteer parent councils and an appointed provincial education authority appointed to serve on behalf of the premier and minister of education, not our communities.
The new PC plan falsely claims that it will give parents a greater ability to have a say in their child’s education but ultimately the minister will have the final say.
Throughout St. Vital, parents and guardians are busy and aren’t always able to volunteer at their children’s schools. As a parent in LRSD, I know first-hand how challenging it can be to find the time to volunteer.
Beyond that, the PC education plan fails to address some of the serious problems in education. Students’ social and emotional well-being, tackling poverty issues, enhancing reconciliation and Indigenous programming and advancing inclusion and equity, even creating smaller class sizes, are just some of the important things not included in the PC government’s plan for education.
We need to be working to break down the barriers that students face so that they have better opportunities to achieve their educational goals. Unfortunately, the Pallister government cut $4.2 million from this year’s school budgets. That hurts education in any school year but especially in the middle of the pandemic this year.
The government’s plan doesn’t modernize education, it puts control of education in the hands of the education minister, removes community voices and jeopardizes some of the unique educational programs that we have in our St. Vital school communities.
If you have any questions or comments about the proposed Bill 64 or need any assistance from my office, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-219-5407.
St. Vital constituency report
Jamie Moses is the NDP MLA for St. Vital.