Mr. Premier, these days, because of your government, thousands of home-schooled Quebec children are experiencing unnecessary anxiety with mandatory end-of-year exams in the classroom.
A bullied elementary school boy returns to the school he attended to take his final exam and has nightmares about it. A student attacked in the school corridor takes the exam in the facility where he suffered the trauma and with the possibility of meeting the attackers again.
Elementary school girls and boys who have experienced school anxiety go to an unknown place with people they don’t know for their ministerial exam.
Suspend ministerial background checks
Today we are addressing the Prime Minister, but also the former Minister of Education and especially the father of the family, which you are. On behalf of over 1,800 homeschooling families, we are calling you from the bottom of our hearts to suspend the year-end ministerial exams imposed on our children by your Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge. At this very moment, thousands of children in primary and secondary schools have to go to school at home and endure situations that create stress, anxiety and distress!
For many families, homeschooling is not an option, but rather a solution of last resort. In Quebec, more than 50% of home-schooled children have learning disabilities, disorders or mental health problems that cannot be adequately addressed by the traditional education system. Not without significant compromises and sacrifices does a parent decide to homeschool, but as parents we put our children’s education first.
Quebec is one of the most regulated provinces for home education. Families who make this decision are responsible to the Ministry of Education for their child’s educational progress. However, the ministry overdoes it and from now on obliges our children to take ministerial tests in a school they do not attend.
These exams become a huge source of anxiety for them and create a counterproductive environment for their academic success.
Currently, fourth-, sixth- and second-graders move around schools needlessly, while their exam grades will not be taken into account in their study progress. Moreover, the ministerial exam for young people in the fourth and fifth grades counts for 100% of their grade, which is an unfair and unacceptable situation. Would parents who send their children to school accept that the final exam counts for 100% of their grade? This is unfair to our children!
A heartbreaking choice
As parents, we are faced with a heartbreaking choice: comply with the Ministry’s regulatory requirements or protect our children with consequences for their academic progress… Why subject your child to the anxiety of an end-of-year exam that has no bearing on their school career? Why add excessive pressure to the shoulders of students IV. and V. secondary school by an exam that counts for 100% of the final grade?
Homeschoolers are part of the solution. We fear for the well-being of our children. Your Minister of Education refuses to meet with us.
Yet your government in the current situation is creating an anxiety-inducing environment for our children from scratch! Mr. Legault, help us end this!
Marine Dumond-Després, president of the Quebec Home Education Association and mother of three