Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tintamarre for EFI

The march today was a resounding success ...

Here is Bruce preparing a sign,
while Matt (below) arrived with one already made:

We counted 185 marchers in our peaceful protest march.

See you in Fredericton on March 27th at high noon :-)


Christine O'Neal said...

March 19, 2008

To: Moncton Times & Transcript

The Editors:

I am writing to voice my concern; as well as overwhelming disappointment and anger, over the Education Minister’s decision to slash the Early French Immersion program in New Brunswick. I am an Anglophone; who cannot speak or understand French, and mother of four children. My eldest son is currently in grade 3 in EFI. His French is amazing. He speaks beautifully. My second son is in Kindergarten and was supposed to be entering into FI in September (he was very excited to start learning French like his older brother). However, for some reason, Mr. Lamrock made a lightening quick decision based on what appears to be a seriously flawed report and cut EFI.

As a taxpayer, and a once loyal liberal supporter, I would like some answers.

First, instead of hastily scrapping a program that has been established for 30 years, why not put some resources into making the program better.

Second, regarding streaming, why not again make our existing programs better by offering more resources to the EFI program? This way children with learning disabilities can have the same opportunity to learn French. The education minister’s answer – cut EFI, now there is no streaming.

Third, as the only official bilingual province, does it make sense to take away our option of EFI? It seems absurd.

Fourth, why weren’t we the public consulted on this very important issue? Why were we not even asked how we felt about it? Do we not live in a Democratic society?

Something doesn’t add up in this scenario. However I’m sure if I searched a little deeper I would find that it comes back to the bottom line. This move by Mr.Lamrock seems completely contradictory to the message I heard in the speech he was giving in Sackville last September. Children at an early age are desperate for knowledge, he says, and love to learn. And because of that passion, they soak up that knowledge with great speed and ability. So finally, why did Mr. Lamrock take this early learning opportunity away from our children?


Christine O’Neal

David Fleming said...

The following letter was sent to our MLA on Saturday, March 15. It was encouraging to hear of his support at the Sackville rally.

Michael Olscamp, MLA

Dear Mike,

As a constituent of Tantramar and father of three, I wanted to take a moment to write regarding the recent decision of the provinical government concerning FSL education.

I appreciated your comments this week in the Tribune-Post regarding the Commissioners' report and recommendations. It is apparent that the report itself is seriously flawed in terms of its statistics and analysis. What is
most troubling to me, however, is that the government closed public comment on the report without notice and less than 2 weeks after calling for comment. It is obvious that there was never any real intention to thoughfully consider
public response. The hastily announced decision on Friday came completely out of the blue. There is simply no other conclusion to be made other than that the
Minister had in fact made his final decision a long time ago.

Although I disagree with a great deal of the logic behind the decision, I have no doubt the Minister and government feel this is the correct decision for the
province. However, the approach of the government and the process followed has been very cynical, in my opinion. (I wrote to the Minister and Premier in November outlining some of my concerns with the way the original Terms of
Reference were framed, but received no response or acknowledgement.)

I was pleased to hear Mme. Dube also speaking out against the process and decision on Friday night. I urge the PC party to continue to press this issue.

Thanks for your time, and best wishes.

David Fleming

Robert Cupido said...

To: Moncton Times & Transcript

To the editor:

Like many other concerned parents, I am writing to express my outrage over the recent decision to eliminate Early French Immersion in New Brunswick. EFI is rapidly expanding in every other part of the country. Incredibly, only New Brunswick, Canada’s first officially bilingual province, has chosen to abolish it completely, without any meaningful public consultation or debate, on the basis of a deeply flawed report whose findings are refuted by a large and growing body of scholarly research in second language acquisition. The Minister claims that his decision was motivated by a concern with perceived inequalities in our educational system. His preferred solution is to ensure that in the future all anglophone children in this province will be equally deficient in their ability to communicate in French and equally disadvantaged in an increasingly bilingual labour market. If Mr. Lamrock is sincerely committed to ensuring equal educational opportunities for all of our children, I urge him to stop peddling discredited myths about the negative effects of EFI, expand the current immersion program and make it more inclusive, as a number of studies have recommended . At the same time, instead of using Early French Immersion as a scapegoat for shortcomings in other areas of our underfunded school system, he should be providing the additional resources that are needed to address problems in the core English program, revealed by the results of standardized literacy tests. This decision has raised the expectations of those elements in our population who have never accepted the equal status of English and French in this province, and hope that the elimination of EFI might represent the first step towards the abolition of official bilingualism. It is disturbing to see the party of Pierre Trudeau and Louis Robichaud appealing to this constituency.


Robert Cupido