Bill 64

Presenting at Standing Committee

speaking to bill 64 450x112

What is Standing Committee?

Standing committee is a stage of the legislative process where members of the public can make an oral or written presentation, expressing their opinions of support, concern, or opposition in front of a committee of MLAs. That means you have the opportunity to put your voice on the record about the legislation that impacts you.

The Government only has to provide a minimum of 2 days notice to everyone before they call the Committee. Bill 64 will be referred to a Standing Committee any time before November 4th, although most likely in October.

Why is it important to speak at Standing Committee?

Standing Committee presentations provide an opportunity for Manitobans to share support or concerns related to a Bill that’s being considered by provincial MLA’s. It is a democratic opportunity for your voice to be heard!

The Minister of Education is suggesting “it is only a vocal minority that opposes Bill 64”. We believe it is a vast majority of people who have significant concerns related to Bill 64. Presenting at Standing Committee lets the “silent majority” be heard. Let’s take advantage of it. Having 2000 – 3000 Manitobans register to speak to this Bill will send a very strong message to the MLA’s that we believe Bill 64 needs to be amended or defeated.

How do I register to speak at Standing Committee?

To register to speak at committee, call the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly at 204-945-3636. You will need to provide the following information: Your first name, address, contact information, if you are a private citizen or speaking on behalf of an organization, and the Name and Number of the bill you wish to speak to: Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act.

During the pandemic, Committees have been held over zoom. We expect that to continue in the fall. But please let the clerk know if you live outside of Winnipeg. This is important if the committee moves to in-person presentations.

For details on the zoom procedure, please visit:
https://www.gov.mb.ca/legislaure/committees/virtual_committees_presenter_manual.pdf

Your name will be placed on a “List of Presenters” in the order that registrations are received. There is NO limit on the number of people who can register to speak. You will need to be available for the duration of the meeting, as there is no set time for each speaker.

How do I present to a Standing Committee?

You have 10 minutes to speak, and 5 minutes at the end for the Committee Members to as you questions. You don’t need to fill 10 minutes, but you absolutely can.

Please don’t allow the fact that MLA’s can ask questions about your presentation keep you from presenting. If they ask something that you don’t feel prepared to answer, you can say something as simple as “I believe my presentation expressed my views clearly” or “I don’t have an answer to that question but that does not diminish my concerns about Bill 64 or what I’ve presented”.

Sample Presentation

Who are you, and in what capacity are you speaking to the bill today?

Good evening, my name is Shirley Jones and I am speaking tonight as a private citizen against Bill 64: The Education Modernization Act.

How does the education system impact you? Are you a parent, guardian, teacher, administrator, support staff, bus driver, community member, student, other?

I am the parent of three school aged children in the rural community of Anola. My children attend pre K, Grade 2 and Grade 6 at our local public school. I work on a family farm and in our local farm supply store part-time. My spouse is an insurance broker in our community. We are extremely active in our school community.

Why are you speaking out against Bill 64 today? What are your top concerns? List them all.

My first concern is that our community will lose its local voice. My second concern is that Bill 64 will lead to more cuts to school funding, and my third concern is that this Bill expects my fellow parents of school aged children, and I to be advisors to actual educators.

Explain each of your concerns in more detail.

How does this impact my kids, my family and my community?
What would have been a better option?
What does the government need to change?
Personal stories and/or experiences often offer the most powerful message.
Consider enhancing your concerns by sharing a personal story.

Make suggestions to the Minister of Education

If you want them to make changes to the bill, suggest a clear amendment.
If you want them to scrap Bill 64 entirely, make that clear and ask them to start over.
If you want them to rewrite the bill so that it follows the recommendations of the Commission on K-12 Education, state that clearly.

Tell the Minister what you will do if the Government passes Bill 64

If you think that the government passing Bill 64 will change how you vote in the next election and you feel comfortable naming this, please do so. Votes matter to politicians!

End by thanking the Committee for their time, and the moderator will ask the Committee Members if they have any questions.

Download: pdfBill-64-Presenting_at_Standing_Committee.pdf

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GVSD Board of Trustees
Laurie Dyck (chair) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Garden Valley School Division
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204-325-8335

A Letter to Those Making Decisions About Education Reform

To Those Making Decisions About Education Reform,

As a parent of a Garden Valley Collegiate student, the co-chair of the school's Parent Advisory Council, and a clinical psychologist who has worked extensively with many educators over the past twenty years, I have grave concerns about many of the reforms being proposed in Bill 64.

1. Over the decades, experts in education have been advising a move toward differentiated learning to offer individualized academic instruction according to students' unique abilities and needs. The philosophy of Bill 64 appears to emphasize a standardized approach to education with most decisions made by a centralized body that is not nearly as connected or flexibly responsive to the diverse features of various communities. This appears to be a return to old-school education rather than reform or modernization as would be suggested by research-based best practices.

2. I realize that many of the details of the bill's implementation still need to be determined. However, the current lack of clarity around the role, responsibilities, and authority of the School Community Councils is troubling. Will we expect unpaid, unelected parent volunteers to have the capacity to make well-informed and wise decisions about capital expenditures, curriculum development, performance evaluations of teaching staff, and hiring of principals? It is difficult enough to attract busy parents to these volunteer roles now even with limited expectations. How can we expect volunteer community members to do the job that school boards are currently doing, especially without the infrastructure provided right now by knowledgeable senior administration who are all educators? Or is it the case that parents are being told they will have this level of influence but in actuality they will only offer suggestions rather than direction?

3. Without the requirement that those in the most senior administrative positions be (former) educators, the proposed reform appears to be a shift from an education-centred to a business/management-centred practice, similar to what we see in American health care with HMOs. When the top priority becomes money savings and tax cuts rather than offering the best possible education in the most effective yet cost-efficient manner, everyone loses out in the long run.

4. Garden Valley School Division currently runs a number of expensive yet extremely effective specialized programs beyond the basics, such as AP courses, RRTVA (technical/vocational apprenticeship programs), off-site Fresh Start for students who haven't stayed engaged in typical academics, etc. What guarantees are there that some of these grassroots initiatives and community-supported programs would still be funded under the proposed reforms?

5. As a rural Manitoban, I am not in favour of a Winnipeg-based PEA determining school closures without having an adequate understanding of the role that small or remote country schools play in the community. As a parent and a mental health professional, I am also alarmed at the thought of students of any age spending more than an hour on a bus, purely as a cost-savings measure, if they have to travel further to attend schools.

6. Like healthcare employees, educators have been frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers and administrators have had to pivot and adjust to countless unpredictable changes over the past 14 months, often with little opportunity to prepare and with minimal training to deliver education in an entirely different format. They have been exposed to hundreds of students coming into school buildings without any early opportunities for vaccination, and recently schools have been extremely short-staffed due to sick and self-isolating employees. Pushing forward at this time on an education reform bill proposing an overhaul of the system as we know it only adds to the incredible stress and persistent uncertainty schools already have been facing. Like healthcare workers, educators are exhausted. Because they are conscientious and dedicated, they will carry on through the peak of the COVID crisis, but many will require medical leave, others will make disability claims, and still more will choose to retire or leave education once the worst is over. North American experts are making these predictions which are entirely confirmed by the many conversations I am having professionally and personally with teachers and administrators on a frequent basis. Our only hope at having an intact education system is to offer a supportive light at the end of the tunnel for those who have given so much. Inadequately thought-through reforms requiring even more flexibility and resilience are completely inappropriate at this time.

Although our region has traditionally voted in Conservative candidates over the years, there are an increasing number of constituents who cannot in good conscience support policies such as Bill 64 with their votes or their wallets. Please listen to the voices of those most closely connected with the frontlines. Wait, consult more, and make many needed changes to the bill. Offer stability and support rather than unpredictability and cuts so the education system only has to respond to one crisis at a time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shanna Trinke, C. Psych.
Registered Psychologist
C. W. Wiebe Medical Centre
385 Main St.
Winkler, MB R6W 1J2

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