My name is Jean-François Champagne-Bélanger, I am 42 years old and I have been teaching French in high school for 18 years.
I am writing to you because it is time to take action in education in Quebec and because we have to start somewhere. There is no question of waiting. I hope that this letter goes directly to you, and not only to your communications officer, and that it allows you to begin a deep reflection that will translate, if necessary, into concrete actions.
Our job is dying.
You exercised it for 17 years, your recent book “What if we reinvented the school? Chronicle of an idealistic teacher “, testifies to your knowledge of the Quebec school network, so you will know what I am talking about in this letter. You have the power to act on it.
But what is the problem of primary and secondary education in Quebec? Where exactly is the discomfort? While there are a number of social, cultural, generational, economic and ideological factors that influence the teaching profession, there are two main reasons why teaching in Quebec today is a lottery where winners receive psychological distress, burnout and career reorientation checks: the wild integration of HDAA students in normal classes since 1999 and its direct consequence, the decrease in services offered in special education.
THE NODE OF THE PROBLEM is there. Two phenomena with disastrous consequences currently occur from the third year of primary to the end of secondary school: the reduction of the number of specialized classes for HDAA students and the migration of the best students to special programs or subsidized private schools . For all other students, the only possible route is the regular class. AND IT HAS NOTHING MORE REGULAR.
In fact, there are so many problematic cases in these classes that it is rather the “regular” students who are integrated into special education classes.
The image is striking.
The common man, a parent concerned about the education of his child for example, might wonder if in this context teachers are better trained to meet the needs of students. Answer: no. It might be questionable whether teachers from special education training teach regular groups. Answer: no. He might wonder if his child will receive the quality education he deserves. Answer: no.
As Minister of Education, you must announce a major reinvestment in education as soon as possible, which will be used primarily to reopen specialized classes for students with learning and behavioral difficulties in both elementary and secondary school. enhance the scope of special education for future teachers and substantially reduce the number of students in first- and second-grade classes, where reading and writing are so important.
Some children can hardly learn to read and write because their teacher spends most of their time managing discipline cases.
It’s totally unacceptable!
Mr. Minister, these three measures are achievable in the very short term. You have a duty to intervene in matters of education and the entire teaching population of Quebec expects you to do so. It remains to be seen if you will have the courage to move.