local voices

WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT Bill 64: THE EDUCATION MODERNIZATION ACT? (Pour vous renseignez en français svp, cliquez ici)

Because sweeping changes are being proposed regarding education! Whether you agree or disagree with them, your voice deserves to be heard. Please call 204-945-3636 and register to speak to Bill 64: the Education Modernization Act

Every Manitoban that registers is entitled to present for ten minutes, in English ou en français.You can also submit a written presentation, should you so choose. Instructions for how to present can be found here. You can also reach out to your local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to voice your concerns or support for Bill 64.


BACKGROUND

On March 15, 2021, the Manitoba Government released the final report of the K-12 Education Review while introducing the Education Modernization Act, also known as Bill 64. If passed, there will be significant changes to the Manitoba school system.

Based on preliminary observations, these changes do not include a plan to address the needs of children in poverty, which remains the single largest factor influencing Manitoba’s national and international test scores, even while Manitoba remains one of the world’s best and leading systems of education, according to these exact same international scores.

Instead, the Government has proposed many structural changes that will impact parents, teachers, staff and administrators to achieve yet-to-be-identified savings of $40 million. These changes would mean:

AS PARENTS, COMMUNITY MEMBERS, AND BUSINESS OWNERS:

  • VOTING RIGHTS ELIMINATED: your local voting rights will be eliminated.
  • LOCAL SCHOOL DIVISIONS DISAPPEAR: your school division will also be eliminated.
  • COMMUNITY FOCUS REMOVED: school divisions would be replaced by bigger administrations serving more students and more communities.
  • ACCESS TO DECISION-MAKERS FAR REMOVED: you will ultimately need to take your concerns on any matter regarding education to Winnipeg, no matter where in the province you reside.
  • WORK-LIFE BALANCE REDEFINED: as parents, you will be asked to step up to play a more significant part in your child’s schooling. You will not only be required to manage your household and work tasks, but you will also be tasked with governing and managing your local schools.
  • BUSINESS DISCONTINUED: as local business owners, you will need to secure contracts for goods and services related to schools in your own community from Winnipeg rather than locally, as you do now.
  • TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION: as a Manitoban, you will pay the same school taxes as before but with no elected voice to ensure that money is invested locally, according to who pays it. Government has proposed a phase out of school taxes without a clear plan for how it intends to achieve this. Your local school boards have advocated for this to happen for many years, it is time for actions to follow.

FOR TEACHERS, PRINCIPALS, AND FRONTLINE STAFF:

  • CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE: Manitoba’s proposed “No Child Left Behind” approach to classroom assessment means that a framework is established whereby your pay can be withheld or reduced based on student assessment outcomes that are attributable to factors beyond your control. Factors such as child poverty. 
  • MANAGEMENT RIGHTS ENFORCED: as teachers and frontline staff (EAs, custodians, bus drivers, secretarial support), you will be employed by one larger employing authority, located in Winnipeg, that could redeploy you anywhere in the province that has need for the skills and expertise you hold.
  • MANAGEMENT ROLES REDEFINED: as school principals, you will be removed from MTS and will instead become part of management, which means your staff will see you as their “boss” rather than their “colleague” (with rise in formal labour grievances, as has happened in every other jurisdiction.
  • MORE MANAGEMENT: at the same time, principals, will now “become enhanced” by the addition of school or building managers who will serve alongside you, so that those who are not already, can “return to teaching.” Adding these 700 more staff unveils the precise plans for how Bill 64 will redirect any “savings” and “resources” to “support the classroom.”
  • LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES REMOVED: did you ever see yourself serving as a superintendent, secretary-treasurer or an operational manager one day, following decades of career dedication to our classrooms and communities? With proposed employment of senior administration now handed directly to the Minister under Bill 64, there are no legislative guarantees that hiring considerations will not be made based on partisan affiliation, patronage, or direct appointment, rather than on merit alone.
  • TEACHING DISCIPLINE: Creation of a regulatory college, as exists for healthcare professionals, will see future proposals considered for having you pay thousands of dollars in fees above your MTS dues, for annual re-registration of your ability to engage in teaching employment and professional practice. Did we mention the need to prove you remain competent and for others to anonymously allege that you might not be?
  • PROVINCEWIDE PICKETS: for EAs, custodians, bus drivers, and secretarial support, your local associations will be dissolved and new provincial collective units set up. This means that when the first strike comes, you will all be asked to take part in the picket, not just within your locals.

Are there any positive features of Bill 64? It is our perspective that the above features of Bill 64 deserve attention and awareness. There is no intention to portray the Bill in a negative manner. The above points describe exactly what the Bill will achieve, once it is passed.

Please read Bill 64 for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Need help understanding the 327 pages included in the Bill? Please call the Government. We are certain they will answer any questions you may have.


President Alan Campbell

We encourage all Manitobans to understand the risks involved in removing local democratic accountability from public education. We believe that it is the right of each Manitoban to have their voice heard concerning the changes proposed in Bill 64, the Education Modernization Act.





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