Direct consequences for school support staff

13 June 2019

Decree on the modification of recess time 

 “The Minister of Education’s decision to extend recess time throughout Quebec is improvised and will have direct consequences for many school support staff.  It is not true that this will be done at zero cost,” says Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ) President Éric Pronovost.

The President of the FPSS-CSQ denounced Minister Roberge’s eagerness to impose his ideas without taking the time to evaluate their effects on the education community. “Even before we know all the details of these announced changes, some school boards are already working to implement the new measures with an approach that will be harmful to support staff,” laments the union leader.

Cuts to save money

At some school boards, day care educators and other employees who provided frontline services to students will suffer as a result of the Minister’s decision.

“Some school boards are waiting to learn more about how this decree that modifies the Régime pédagogique will be applied, but there is cause for concern because others have already decided to reduce the amount of time students spend in daycare. The result is that many employees will see their work time reduced.  It makes no sense because, in the context of the current labour shortage, we will be making already precarious jobs even more precarious,” says Éric Pronovost.

He goes on to say that “the Minister of Education should have taken the time to consult with people on the ground, and with union organizations, in order to do the right thing and prevent daycare staff from having to pay for this change.”

Get the kids moving

On the other hand, Éric Pronovost suggests that if the goal is to get young people to be more physically active, there are other options.  “For students who attend daycare, we will be moving ten minutes from the lunch break, when they already have the opportunity to engage in physical activities, to the morning or afternoon.  There is no addition of minutes, only a move.

“If we want to keep our kids in school, they need to want to attend and extracurricular activities play a key role.  To improve access to extracurricular activities, we need to add resources at the level of school support staff, such as recreation technicians, special education technicians, laboratory technicians, computer technicians and many others.”

Proposals

In closing, the FPSS-CSQ President believes that the Minister should reconsider his decision.  He could entrust the monitoring of recess periods to people who are fully devoted to such activities.  “For example, student supervisors, day care educators or special education technicians could oversee both breaks, which would allow teachers to focus on other tasks.  Since teachers are already overworked, this assistance would certainly be appreciated.”

Éric Pronovost reminds us that support staff are part of any plan to improve our public education system.  “We are also education!”