Thursday, April 24, 2008

Early immersion needed

Letter from the Daily Gleaner April 24th, 2008

It took incredible vision for provincial leaders years ago to understand that for the two cultures in our province to truly live and work together, a respect for each other had to be fostered.

The early French immersion program in our anglophone schools has been the most successful of any attempt to do just that.

The academic results of the program, while impressive enough on their own, are amplified by the symbolism of growing numbers of anglophone parents enrolling their children in a program where they do not just learn the language, they learn to respect it, along with the culture and those individuals within it.

Bernard Richard's comment, that the sight of 500 anglophones marching on the legislature demanding their children have the opportunity to be taught in French, would have been a preposterous idea 40 years ago.

It makes one appreciate how far we've come in a short period of time.

Yet, here we are today and this current government is now willing to eliminate the very program that, not only symbolizes, but has effectively become the engine that has been driving the shift in our province towards a truly successful multicultural province.

The destruction of such an integral part of our social fabric in order to implement a system proven to be riddled with flaws, with little, if any, valid research to support it in such a short period of time, is reckless and irresponsible.

The government must reverse the recent French second language programing changes that were made without proper consultation with stakeholders.

We must allow all parties involved to work together to develop a coherent and effective plan to improve our education system - one which includes the early immersion program that has brought us so far in such a short time.

Sue Park, Saint John, N.B.

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