The Parent Voice in Education Project will make recommendations to the Ministry on how to establish an independent body that will be representative of and accountable to parents. The group will assess how to engage parents in education and give them a stronger voice at the decision-making table. The project group, chaired by Gabrielle Blais, is to report back by the end of March 2005.
Parent leaders of provincial, regional and local parent organizations, including school councils have been appointed to the project. They represent constituencies of parents from across Ontario’s regions and reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of our students. They also bring expertise in specialized areas, such as literacy, special education, issues for parents in remote communities and the engagement of new Canadians. Above all, they have a shared vision for excellence in publicly funded education and a commitment to strengthening the voice of parents in the system. All appointees have children currently in Ontario publicly funded schools.
Mandate of the Parent Voice in Education Project
- Parents have the right to have a strong, independent, and representative voice at the provincial level in the development of provincial policy.
- Parents are best able to decide how they should communicate with the Minister of Education and with their own parent constituencies.
- Positive results of parent participation in schooling include improved achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behaviour, and restored confidence among parents in their children’s schooling.
The Parent Voice in Education Project will report to the Minister of Education on how to establish an independent, representative province-wide parent body that is accountable to parents. The parent body would serve as the legitimate voice of parents at the provincial level in the development of provincial policy.
In developing its plan, the Parent Voice in Education Project is asked to consider how the recommended province-wide parent body:
- Will assist in developing parent involvement and participation in the education system at the local, regional, and provincial level and increasing individual parent involvement in children’s education.
- Will be structured to provide advice to the Minister on behalf of parents, including making appointments to the Education Partnership Table.
- Will ensure the most complete representation possible.
- Will solicit the views of parents on an ongoing basis.
In making these recommendations, the Parent Voice in Education Project is asked:
- To consider how the parent body could be supported within existing funding; and,
- To evaluate the concept of operating with a mix of public, parent, and private funding in order to serve as a truly independent parent voice.
The Parent Voice in Education Project is asked to submit its plan and final recommendations to the Minister of Education by Friday, February 18, 2005.