March 29th, 2008
Moncton Times & Transcript
The New Brunswick Liberal Government’s drastic and reprehensible elimination of early French immersion learning in New Brunswick schools will stick like stink to that party for many years. And not only in New Brunswick, but everywhere in Canada and abroad. Make no mistake, this is no efficient adjustment to school pedagogy. It is the rasping down of the learning of French to base levels where success will be described as: “able to utter minimal sentences.” Somewhat like the French I learned in Montreal’s Protestant schools in the 50’s, absolutely abysmal lip service sops, given out with no intent of success. The Liberal Party will be rightfully tarred with this travesty, an almost criminal act of replacing the best practice learning of a second official language with a retrograde system, as much to appease the old CORE seethers in the Education Minister’s riding as to actually provide learning.
This decision, engineered by a somewhat language-biased education department, and supported by just one hastily concocted study (so flawed as to be laughable) is an historic insult to the very foundations of the country. The deplorable state of all education in New Brunswick, smack at the bottom of a very long list of provinces in almost every subject, is being excused as the result of the cancer of early French immersion growing within its breast. Evidently, with this cancer now surgically removed, new hope for New Brunswick as a land of high-ranking math and literacy scores is assured.
What a cynical, deceitful and malicious scapegoating of the most effective method of learning French. Throughout history, the scapegoat methodology has always remained the same. Blame something that is a minority, easily attackable, has angered some within the majority, and which can be positioned as the reason for our own failings. Critical to the scapegoating is that it allows the bureaucracy to cover its own very substantial ass.
All of this mischief may be sufficient to graduate the New Brunswick Liberal Government into that select listing of language bottom feeders including those proponents of the Manitoba School Act in 1890, an Act which destroyed French as an official language in Manitoba, and which precipitated the rise of language radicalism in Quebec. How ironic that 118 years later a group of English people fighting to protect the proven best way for their children to learn French, is being opposed by the Party of Laurier and Trudeau. And long after Liberal politicians finally realize the curse of presentmindedness their BlackBerry’s bestow on all who tap and click, voters will remember the perfidy and shortsightedness of a principled Party reduced to pandering to the base instincts of its population.
Graham Watt, Sackville, NB
Monday, March 31, 2008
March 29th, 2008