As a parent of two young boys, I am very concerned about the impact the Pallister government’s Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act, will have on public schools in the Notre Dame constituency.
One of the biggest changes is that Winnipeg School Division will no longer exist as it currently does. Instead, big decisions that have historically been made at the local level will now all be made by a ‘Provincial Education Authority’ that is politically appointed by the education minister.
One major concern with this massive change is that Winnipeg School Division and our community will lose control over programming offered at our schools that are specific to the needs of our families.
WSD provides nutrition programs, adult crossing guards, ‘walking’ school buses, WRENCH bike repair, adult literacy, parenting programs and more. The worry is that the fate of these programs lies with a provincially controlled authority that will not need to consult our community.
For example, if this appointed authority doesn’t see the value in adult education programs for parents, they could be eliminated. This is a real fear, as adult education and adult literacy outcomes have fallen since this government took office and they are currently trying to repeal the adult literacy act, which would remove the mandate to improve adult literacy rates in Manitoba. Our community of parents, teachers and school trustees believes that adult literacy leads to better family literacy.
Bill 64 does nothing to address the impact child poverty has on poor education outcomes in our province. Instead, this government continues to introduce bills whose main threat is to cut costs and centralize the power of the premier and his cabinet.
We’ve created a website that answers questions you may have regarding Bill 64, and ideas for how you can make your voice heard in the legislature.
As a school division employee, as a parent or as a concerned community member, if Bill 64 impacts you I would strongly recommend signing up to speak to members of the government at the bill’s committee stage.
For any questions on how to do so, or regarding anything else, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or over the phone at 204-788-0800.
Notre Dame constituency report
Malaya Marcelino is the NDP MLA for Notre Dame.