Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Minister Lamrock Puts Educational Reform in the Hands of 6 Year Olds

OpEd submitted to Times & Transcript

The Minister of Education tells the CTV news (19 March) that “There have been 15 years of reports that say right now we are teaching too few kids French effectively, and those that aren’t learning French are streamed into classes where they can’t learn”. He stresses that “years of reports have done that”. Apparently the inability of Department of Education bureaucrats, school district administrators, principals, and teachers to rectify the situation and propose a reasonable solution has lead the minister to a new proposal: he will put that responsibility on the shoulders of some ~1600 six years olds who were planning to enroll in early French immersion in September. These well trained education experts (after all, they made it though kindergarten) are being sent to Core classrooms throughout the province to fix all of the classroom composition problems that have evolved over the years. It is somewhat troubling that not only will these kids not be paid for this job, they’ll actually be paying. The price will be foregoing the opportunity to acquire advanced proficiency in French through public education. Their chances of ever landing jobs requiring bilingualism will be slim. It’s not actually clear how these kids will effectuate the changes the minister says they’ll bring about, but I guess we’ll have to rely on their extensive experience.

All tongue in cheek aside, the elimination of early French immersion is unlikely to have any real effect on the problems of the core program. There are no proposed changes to the K-4 curriculum. There will still be the same number of disruptive students in the province. Instead of 5 “exceptional” children on average per grade 1 core class of 22 students (as there would have been were EFI to continue), there will now be 4. We are told that this is going to bring about massive changes to the program. It is hard to imagine how, especially since more than half of K-5 schools in the province won’t be affected (only 44% of these schools currently offer EFI). What is clear is that this group of kids will be less proficient in French when they graduate from high school.

Dr. Amanda Cockshutt

1 comment:

The Mad Ape said...

Kelly Lamrock says one thing and then does the complete opposite. When our kids do that it is considered a fib.

Mr. Lamrock has made uneducated decisions based on flawed interpretation of data.

It is embarrassing to have a guy like this in the position of Education Minister.

Read more about it on my blog at

The Mad Ape