On Wednesday June 6, Cindy Lamoureux, Liberal MLA for Burrows asked several pointed questions about the government's plans for education and the education system in Manitoba. Her questions and the government's responses from Hansard are below:
Indigenous Education - Graduation Rates
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows): Madam Speaker, the report from the Manitoba Auditor General brought to light the little progress made in the province in closing the high school education gap for indigenous students. The statistics are clear, and we know that the graduation rate among indigenous students is at an alarming low of 49.3 per cent.
With such profound evidence, why has this government only fulfilled two of the 19 recommendations from the Auditor General, and why is there absolutely no plan to address the issue?
Hon. Eileen Clarke (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations): I'm pleased to address the issue of indigenous students as well as indigenous education in the province of Manitoba.
I've seen in the past two years great strides that our education system has taken not only for the indigenous students but also in getting the indigenous message through to our younger students. There was an–just this past week, my grandson in MacGregor, a small rural community in Manitoba, had students from Long Plain come into their school to bring them the message of who they were as children. This is where we start.
Our province is leaps and bounds ahead of that already, but we will continue.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Burrows, on a supplementary question.
School Trustees - Government Intention
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows): Madam Speaker, we see red flags going up all around in this government's legislation. We have noticed changes, like the removal of municipal obligations to consult with school boards. We also noticed how school tax rebates no longer need legislation to be changed.
Madam Speaker, very simple question: Is the Minister of Education planning to get rid of school trustees, yes or no?
Hon. Ian Wishart (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member for the question, and the member should be aware that we have committed to do a full review of the K-to-12 system beginning early next year. We expect a lot of interest in this, both from the community at large but also from trustees and school boards and municipal officials as well.
We look forward to listening to Manitobans and hearing what they have to say about changing the design of the education system as we move forward.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Burrows, on a final supplementary.
Future of School Boards - Centralization Inquiry
Ms. Cindy Lamoureux (Burrows): Madam Speaker, the discussions on the yet-to-be-tabled budget bill has Manitobans all very nervous because of this government's lack of transparency. A very common theme with this government is the centralization of decisions being made under the ministerial offices rather than the community, rather than our constituents.
As people, as MLAs, it is our job to represent our constituents, and that includes the ministers.
I ask the minister: Is it this government's plan to dismantle the school boards and centralize decisions under the Department of Education?
Hon. Ian Wishart (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member for the question. If she had listened to my response from the last question, she would know that we are going to Manitobans to listen to what they have to say about the future of school boards in Manitoba: the size, the number and the authority and responsibility.