Replacing school boards with Community School Councils will likely mean the students who need the most help will get the least help
On Wednesday April 7, I raised, in Question Period, my concerns with the government's plan to eliminate school boards and put in place Community School Councils (essentially Parent Councils under a slightly different name). A considerable problem with the Pallister Conservative government's approach is that the schools where the most help is needed will likely have the least help. My question and the Premier's response are below. While the Premier may say he wants to help children who are less well off, his plan is likely to achieve the opposite.
Schools in Low-Income Areas - Parental Engagement Concerns
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, the government wants to eliminate school boards. The government wants to use school boards as the scapegoat for their own failures in education. To improve school performance, the government needs to provide most help to students who are struggling the most to improve.
A major problem with the government's proposal is that the very schools which are located in low-income areas where children are struggling the most are the very schools where engagement of parents and effective community school councils will be the least likely.
Why is the government going to implement in Bill 64 a system in which those children who need the most help will receive the least help?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Unlike the members opposite, Madam Speaker–and this member just personified it with his comments–ill-advised comments at best–we won't give up on the parents of this province, nor will we give up on children who live in poverty.
Madam Speaker, these reforms are designed to assist and uplift what is the greatest opportunity for equality in our society: the public school system, which the Leader of the Opposition has never been part of and refuses to support now with his own decisions.
So, Madam Speaker, we will not give up on the public school system. We will not give up on the teachers in it. And we will most certainly not give up on the parents who live in poverty in this province.
Our reforms are designed to assist most of all this group of children and these people.