Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Letters April 30, 2008

Disgusted by N.B. behaviour
Times and Transcript
To The Editor:

As a former New Brunswicker, I feel compelled to write to express my utter disgust with how the Province of New Brunswick is currently treating its citizens, and how the government is making decisions.

I have been following the French Second Language issue since it hit the news across Canada, and I have been aghast that Education Minister Kelly Lamrock has not been held to account by the premier about his language directed at his critics.

Selfish? Elitist? Not Christian? Surely using this divisive language is grounds enough to demand his resignation.

It is also clear to Canadians that this decision is not based on any sound research or theory. It seems to me that New Brunswick is throwing away over 30 years of research on Early French Immersion and tremendous cultural gains for the sake of a few points on tests. This is just shameful.

As a former New Brunswicker, I have always held a certain hope about moving back to my home province. I now see that this is no longer an option.

Not because of the education system, but because of the embarrassing behaviour and misguided decision-making that goes on in New Brunswick.

Ruth Thompson, Ottawa, Ont.

Give immersion new resources--Telegraph-Journal

I found the editorial, "Give students equal access" quite disturbing.

The comment that a disproportionate number of early French immersion students come from families who "are better educated and better off financially" is a non-sequitur. In fact, it is inflammatory and has nothing to do with students from "less educated" families performing different from than their "more educated" friends.

Admission to the public school system has never been based on a family's net worth. If a student is not learning, it is usually because the proper resources are not available to help that student.

For years, early immersion has been starved of adequate funding; that's the underlying issue. If another reason is given, it is just spin. Students who don't require extra "help" will excel no matter the programme they're in, but their good grades do not come at the expense of lower performing students. When did achieving good grades become a bad thing?

Education expert Doug Wilms was quoted as acknowledging "the earlier a student begins learning, the better." I couldn't agree more and it flies in the face of scraping early immersion. He continues that the "results of Lamrock's reforms won't be measurable for at least a decade." No one can't wait that long, and Mr. Lamrock does not have the moral authority to implement such an experiment. He has no proven track record in education reform.

This government must turn its focus to measuring student learning rather than teaching and start building a professional learning community.


Will Premier save school system? Telegraph-Journal.

The following is an open letter to Premier Shawn Graham.

By this time you may be wondering whether or not you made the right decision in supporting your minister of education. The number of French second language experts who have gone on record opposing your minister's decision should make you have second thoughts about your support.

The minister's decision will mean that the only bilingual province in Canada will begin all French instruction to anglophone students at the age of 10. This means that children in all other provinces will begin French instruction five years before any child in New Brunswick.

Before it is too late, I recommend that you take time from your busy schedule and go visit some of the elementary schools of the province. I recommend that you take the time to sit in core French classes in grades 1 to 4. I ask that you sit in some language arts classes, math classes and science classes in both the English stream and French immersion. I ask that you do this and see for yourself whether or not New Brunswick has a segregated school system. Please Mr. Premier, go take a look and make a decision. This is too important an issue for you to do less than that.


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