Bill 103 generates criticism
Published Friday, June 4, 2010 2:03PM EDT
Bill 103 has teachers upset, separatists seeing red, and the Quebec Liberal party on the defensive.
However private schools are approving of the Charest government's proposed language law.
"It should allow us to have an expanded market of potential students," said Jonathan Goldbloom, of the Association of Quebec Private Schools.
For years, students were being sent to private, unsubsidized English schools for one year, then being transferred into the public system because they met the requirements that they had a background in English education.
The Parti Quebecois government of 2002 put a stop to that with Bill 104, but that law was struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009 for being excessive.
Now, Bill 103 will allow students to switch to public schooling in English, but only after three years in the private sector, and fulfilling the requirements of a complicated, point system that many think will be too subjective.
Public school boards think the new law is too restrictive.
"In terms of our numbers certainly that will not help," said Angela Mancini.
The English Montreal School Board most parents cannot afford to send their children to private school for three years, making them unable to ultimately switch their children to the English public school system.
Mancini says that will result in more closures of English schools, which is unfortunate for a board that has changed with the times.
"We're making sure our kids our fluent in French. They can write and read," Mancini said.
Ultimately, Mancini feels that with Bill 103, the government is pandering to an outdated view of Quebec's anglophone community.
"They can work in Quebec. We're teaching culture in our schools."
Beryl Wajsman of the Institute of Public Affairs of Montreal says Bill 103 actually penalizes francophones, and prevents them from engaging with the world outside Quebec.
"I see the frustration in the francophone community in face of these laws," Wajsman said. "Young, professional, well-educated francophones know that these laws hurt nobody more than the francophones."