Published Friday April 4th, 2008
Appeared on page A1
FREDERICTON - The Liberal government is rebuffing a call by Bernard Richard to delay the explosive early French immersion reforms as the ombudsman forges ahead with a review of what he calls a "tremendous gamble."
After being flooded with more than 200 complaints, Richard will review the Department of Education's plan to cut early French immersion and introduce a universal intensive French program in Grade 5. Although the ombudsman is intending to finish his report by the end of June he had hoped the reforms would be delayed until September 2009. Richard said the enormity of the reform begs closer examination.
"We won't know for several years and we may have really forfeited the right of a generation to learn an acceptable level of French," Richard said. "And I don't know if we should take that chance without taking a good second, sober look at it. And that's what I intend to do." Overhauling the way anglophone children are educated in French could rupture the relative peace between the two linguistic communities, Richard warned.
"I believe that New Brunswick has seen a sea change in terms of the relationship between the two linguistic communities over the past four decades, I've lived through that. I think any change that puts that at risk I think is a tremendous gamble," he said ...
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Friday, April 4, 2008