Montreal School Service Center | Students in difficulty wait a long time

by time news

In two-thirds of the schools in the Center de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM), students with disabilities or learning difficulties cannot obtain the professional services they need “in a timely manner”. In 20% of schools, the wait time for professional help exceeds even a year.

Marie-Eve Morasse

Marie-Eve Morasse

In her annual report tabled in the National Assembly on Wednesday, the Auditor General of Quebec, Guylaine Leclerc, observes that the largest school service center in the province “does not collect data or do analysis on deadlines access to professional services ”for its students in difficulty.

It therefore sent a questionnaire to the directors of the CSSDM establishments, who replied in a proportion of 78%.

In one in five schools, principals said it took more than a year for students to get a vocational assessment. The picture is even less glowing in the case of students who need language support: in a quarter of schools, it takes more than a year for a student to get the help they need.

This last piece of data “astonished” the CSSDM, which comments in the report on some of the Auditor General’s findings. “We will not fail to seek to understand the meaning of this result,” writes the school service center.

Unequal resources

The report of the Auditor General of Quebec observes that at the CSSDM, the distribution of resources does not take into account the real needs of the students and that the services are unequal from one school to another.

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This observation could apply to most school service centers, says the president of the Federation of Quebec Education Professionals.

“It’s problematic across Quebec,” says Jacques Landry. I can have a child who has speech therapy services, I move next door and it becomes impossible. One school will choose speech therapy services, another a specialized educator, yet another a remedial teacher. The overall vision is lost more and more. “

No student absent?

When it collects data from its 188 establishments, the CSSDM has a “problem of consistency and reliability”, we also read in the report tabled Wednesday. The Auditor General gives the example of student absences, “a known problem that the CSSDM is slow to resolve”. In 2018-2019, 14 schools reported no absence of their students for the entire school year.

“Given the importance of this variable in identifying students at risk of school failure, it is essential that the CSSDM has reliable data to target the establishments where students are most at risk”, we read in The report.

The Auditor General also observes that the CSSDM, in its annual management report, “does not provide any relevant element” to explain certain results obtained with regard to the success of its students, whether it is about progress or setbacks.

This is the case in the 2019-2020 report, where the CSSDM notes that the gap between the graduation rate of boys and that of girls is increasing compared to the target that has been set.

“The reason is simple, writes the CSSDM. The graduation rate for girls has increased faster than that for boys. ”

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This is an “insufficient” explanation, the report notes. “This explanation does not provide any information on the real causes of the increase in the gap and the failure to meet the target,” it read.

According to the Auditor General, the CSSDM should collect and use relevant data on the needs of students and the actions of its schools in terms of academic success. He should also put in place the tools to assess the links between the resources invested and the performance of his success plan.

In a press release, the Montreal School Service Center said on Wednesday that the Auditor General’s recommendations “chart the path to follow to put in place more enlightened and efficient management,” and that it will put in place by 2022 an “Office of Data Governance and Success Monitoring”.

17 %

Proportion of students with disabilities or with adaptation or learning difficulties (EHDAA) in general training for young people of the CSSDM in 2020

246 millions

Amount received in 2019-2020 by the CSSDM for adaptation measures and support for success

Source: report of the Auditor General of Quebec, November 2021

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