Announcing the Student Bill of Rights

Comment

Announcing the Student Bill of Rights

Contact

Marium Vahed
Public Relations Manager
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada
mariumv@fcss-fesc.ca
+1 (289) 408-8600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 4, 2017


Introducing the Student Bill of Rights

Standing Up for the Rights of Students Across Canada

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO, FEBRUARY 4, 2017 – For the past few months, the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada has tirelessly dedicated itself to the creation of Canada’s first ever Student Bill of Rights.

The Student Bill of Rights will protect over five million students enrolled in secondary schools, outlining each and every one of the basic rights they deserve for an equitable education. This includes: Fundamental Rights, Accessibility Rights, Equality Rights, Fair Standards, and Utility Rights.

The Student Bill of Rights will advocate for universal standards for assessment and evaluation, equal accessibility to enriched education through extracurricular experiences, empowerment through public consultation with students as to the education system, and a recognition of the unique needs of every student.

This is necessary in eliminating challenges and equalizing opportunities for all students, regardless of geography, ethnicity, financial situation, or any barriers that exist. Without students worrying about the disparities that exist within our education, they are more likely to be successful both in school, and when entering post-secondary or the workplace.

Although Canada has made progress in creating avenues for student voice, there has been limited recognition of the day-to-day rights students deserve. The FCSS-FESC strives to use this momentum to create a movement for the formalization of student rights nationwide.

As students, we should and need to have a platform to voice our opinions in order to truly take action in improving our education system. Through the Student Bill of Rights, I believe we can make a difference in our own learning.
— Eva Ren, Vice-Chair of the Student Rights Committee


Thus far, the FCSS-FESC has released the first draft of the Student Bill of Rights in order to allow for consultation with students across Canada. Student feedback is a vital part of the process of having a fully representative Bill, and FCSS-FESC has already received over 6,000 visits to the website.
 
A Student Forum will be held in Toronto in late March to create a platform for student discussion and debate as to the Student Bill of Rights. This Form is expected to host over a hundred students. It will be focused on collecting suggestions as to additions and amendments to the Bill, in the hopes of making the Bill more representative of the diverse student voice.
 
Any interested students are welcomed to visit the website, fill out the survey, or attend the forum. The FCSS-FESC hopes individuals would be willing to collaborate and share in its enthusiasm for this Bill, in order to empower and strengthen student voice across Canada.
 
In the future, the FCSS-FESC will lobby provincial and federal authorities for the legislative adoption of this Bill. The Federation hopes Canadian citizens will be equally driven towards creating a better future for all secondary students.
 
The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du
Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to provide students with essential services and programmes not available in schools. We are a non-partisan not-for-profit organisation that is led by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada and supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, mentorship programmes, and experiential conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

###

Comment

Establishment of a Francophone University in Ontario

Comment

Establishment of a Francophone University in Ontario

Contact

Pablo Mhanna-Sandoval
Francophone Affairs Officer
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada
pablom@fcss-fesc.ca
+1 (289) 643-6262

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 15, 2017


Establishment of a Fully Francophone University in Ontario

Serving Ontario's French Language Population

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, JANUARY 15, 2017 - The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students |  Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) is a nationwide initiative dedicated to the well-being and the representation of student voice, both anglophone and francophone.

Back in November 2016 a bill was passed by the provincial legislature concerning a Francophone university in Ontario. Ever since it was passed, France Gélinas, Francophone affairs critic, has been pushing to establish the new institution. The University of Ottawa’s English newspaper states: “Franco-Ontarians are plenty in number but hugely underrepresented at universities.” Gelina declared that “Ontario is richer because we have Francophone people within our midst.” A new Francophone university would help preserve French culture in the province and create a more comforting environment for francophone ontarian students.

According to the AFMO (Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario), the French presence in Ontario dates back nearly 400 years to the establishment of what is now Simcoe County back in 1639. Like the general population of Ontario, the Franco-Ontarian community is diverse and vibrant in many aspects. For many years, it has welcomed francophones from various different places such as: Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe and today represent a total of 10% of the province's Francophone population. This adds to Ontario's francophone total community number of 582,690, i.e. 4.8% of the province's total population (according to Statistics Canada 2006 census). French culture is a fundamental value of Canadian society and it contributes to the social, economic, cultural and political fabric that forms different parts of Ontario. Being the residence of choice of the highest francophone population outside Quebec, Ontario should continue to recognize its important responsibility in ensuring that this francophone community has access to the resources and opportunities required for it to ensure its long-term growth and development. This is especially crucial in terms of education, a prevalent aspect in everyone’s lives.

As there have been interlingual tensions in Canadian history, it is undoubtedly both a federal and provincial duty to mend past relations. Considering Ontario’s large Francophone community, it is only fair that they are given their own governing voice in education. Although many are satisfied with bilingual universities, Francophones are still, however, being directed by a dominantly English-speaking board. Instead of promoting bilingualism by having Francophones adhere to the English language and culture, it should be promoted by allowing Francophones to choose for themselves in which ways they wish for their community to grow. Giving Canadian students the opportunity to attend a Franco-Ontarian university would make the bold yet essential statement that Francophones are not just a minority but rather an essential part of Canada’s identity in which they have the sovereignty to preserve and promote their language, culture and community.
According to francophone students from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont. :”[...] They were pleased with the number of options, 38 fully- French programs and growing.” Gelinaalso recognizes that l’Université de Hearst is a french language university located in northern Ontario with a large population of francophone students, but a fully Franco-Ontarian university would be necessary to wholly conserve the french culture and create a community amongst themselves.

This genre of institution would be greatly beneficial to the province, offering a full range of university degrees and programs in French, as opposed to the current situation where there are only selective programs offered in French. A notable benefit that has been advocated for: the creation of a positive environment for francophone students to feel comfortable and accepted. The REFO (Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien) comments that: “It’s really a question of having the rights to it.” In addition to this, Francophones would be able to call the university their own; a university for Francophones directed by Francophones.

Recently, Marie-France Lalonde, the Ontario Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, has created a planification committee composed of mostly Toronto-based individuals above the age of thirty years old, hence excluding francophone youth from the planning process. Furthermore, the composition of the committee further excludes representatives of the other regions of Ontario, where francophone student voice can play a pivotal role in the decision-making process.

It is difficult to see why the government of Ontario hasn’t included francophone youth in the committee when the university it is planning directly concerns them. The planning process would directly and concretely benefit from their valuable input.
— Pablo Mhanna-Sandoval, Francophone Affairs Officer: FCSS-FESC

Ultimately, the FCSS-FESC strongly believes that a Franco-Ontarian university would not only fully validate all Francophone students’ voices but would also reinforce the need for Canada to preserve such a dynamic aspect of our culture. As French has shaped our history and continues to do so today, Ontario, home to the second largest francophone population in Canada, should take action in acknowledging and empowering it more so.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

###

Comment

Importance of Financial Literacy Education in Schools

Comment

Importance of Financial Literacy Education in Schools

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students' Study on the Importance of Financial Literacy Education in Schools.

For the past several months, the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students-Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) has been to collect, compile, and tabulate data for its Study on the Importance of Financial Literacy Education in Schools as a Key Factor in Economic Well-being.

Today, we are proud to announce that through the dedication of our Research and Development Officer, and in her capacity overseeing the Policy Committee, and the work of our Ambassador Network, the FCSS-FESC can publish its findings.

The full 17-page publication in its entirety contains background information, summaries of statistics, and in-depth analyses on the effects of financial literacy education and further success of students in secondary school, and can be accessed, viewed, and downloaded below. For questions or to obtain publication and reproduction right, please email contact@fcss-fesc.ca

Comment

Education Disruption in Nova Scotia

Comment

Education Disruption in Nova Scotia

Contact

Marium Vahed
Public Relations Representative
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada
mariumv@fcss-fesc.ca
+1 (289) 643-6262

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 17, 2016


Education Disruption in Nova Scotia

A Disruption and Hindrance to Students’ Access to Public Education

TORONTO, ONTARIO, DECEMBER 17, 2016 -- The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students-Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) is a nationwide initiative tirelessly advocating for the welfare, benefit, and rights of students. Recently, it has come to its attention that the closing and re-opening of public schools in Nova Scotia is an urgent concern in need of addressing, as it hinders students from receiving a complete education.

On Saturday, December 3, Education Minister Karen Casey stated that the province’s current policies posed security concerns for students. This prompted the federal government to plan to implement a new bill and contract teachers. And with that statement, the provincial government announced that public schools would close their doors until the passing of the bill, which would require students to remain home until then.

Officials estimated that students would be out of school for a week, but on Monday afternoon, the government abruptly decided to not pass the bill, announcing that “at this point in time, this [Bill 75] is not moving forward.” Shortly after, students and educators were notified to return to schools the following day.

However, the aftermath of the situation and birth of a temporary decision left majority, including the FCSS-FESC, unsatisfied and concerned. “The safety pretext wasn’t true,”  Jamie Baillie said. “The government really decided to play politics with students and classrooms.” The response to this was enormous; from elementary schools to secondary schools, concerns were vocalized, the most serious being the Nova Scotia Teachers Union launching their work-to-action campaign.

The work-to-action rule is essentially a teachers strike; and with it, numerous issues arose. One major point is teachers only showing up twenty minutes before class, and twenty minutes after class. This equals no extra-curricular activities and events, and as a result, concerts, trips, practices, and tournaments were cancelled. Unfortunately, the repercussions do not end there. Educators were told to not provide additional aid for student learning; this includes updating learning websites, providing extra-help or tutoring.

Research reveals that strikes harm student learning and academic performance. As Wilfrid Laurier’s David Johnson conducted such studies, he noticed the falling rate of students obtaining passing scores on standardized tests. This is demonstrated through his observations during a teacher work stoppage in Ontario, where math scores plummeted 0.21 percentage points per day. Other subjects did not fare any better, with scores dropping by 0.10 points per day. Meanwhile, smaller schools equipped with an inadequate amount of resources suffered on a larger scale: scores sank by 0.35 points per day. As these numbers add up during the extensive duration of a strike, more significant drops in academic performance ensue, which impacts overall student achievement. To make matters worse, Canadian schools do not compensate for lost instructional time during teacher strikes, which results in damages on student learning.

As an organization that works to ensure the success of students, it is troubling to see the work-to-action practice in effect -- and as the research indicates, it will surely harm student learning and progress.  Thus, the FCSS-FESC urges the Nova Scotian government and teachers’ union to promptly arrive at a long-term solution that will not only consider students’ current academic performance, but also their future post-secondary pathways.

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des Élèves du Secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our initiatives are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, whilst working to improve education today.

For any sources used in this release, contact the Office for Communications and Public Information at contact@fcss-fesc.ca.

###

 

Comment