Sunday, April 27, 2008

More great letters from this weekend

Letters to the editor Minister's 'numbers' belie education trendsPublished Saturday April 26th, 2008, Telegraph Journal

In an article by Education Minister Kelly Lamrock (Increasing literacy is a defining challenge) he writes that "In New Brunswick, there are around 300,000 adults who can't read well enough to learn a new skill if their job changed." Let's look at the inanity of his assertion.

According to the 2006 census, there are 382,970 New Brunswickers in the labour force; 344,770 of these are actually employed. Using Mr. Lamrock's math, 87 per cent of employed New Brunswickers lack the ability to "learn a new skill." No doubt Mr. Lamrock will claim his reference to 300,000 New Brunswickers included the entire adult population, but his statement refers to changing jobs, which one cannot do unless one is already employed.

Lamrock's puzzling figure may be derived from the fact that 333,020 of New Brunswickers 15 and older do not have any post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.

To get a more realistic view of our workforce's education level, we need to look at the 25-34 and 35-64 age groups. These numbers reveal the generational trend in education. For example, 24 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 35-64 did not complete high school, but this is true of only 11 per cent of those aged 25-34.

Lamrock's absurdly inflated illiteracy figures do not serve to underscore the need to reform education in New Brunswick. They call into question his capability to interpret figures appropriately, his integrity as a public figure, and his authority to make any decisions where our children's educations are concerned.


Report questions must be answered

It was a pleasure to read the commentary "Flawed report, flawed conclusion" by Diana Hamilton and Matthew Litvak. They effectively challenged every argument Minister Lamrock used in defence of his decision to eliminate all French instruction for anglophone students until Grade 5.

I hope the decision makers in our province will take the time to read this effective rebuttal of this terrible decision.

The Croll/Lee report has been discredited by all FSL experts in the country. Most of the data analysis has been found to be wrong by a variety of academics, including 21 math professors from UNB. This error-ridden report cost the taxpayers of the province $180,000.

The spending of $180,000 is even harder to understand when we learn that there was another FSL report (Rehorick Report) commissioned and paid for by the government less than two years before the Croll/Lee report was commissioned.

One can only wonder why Croll and Lee were hired to do this study. They have admitted that they are not FSL experts. Their countless errors in the report call into question their analytical skills. Their lack of consultation with FSL experts and the obvious biases revealed through wording in the report, make us wonder whether the outcome was predetermined, in which case the wasting of $180,000 is all the more outrageous.

It is time that the whole flawed process used to eliminate EFI is questioned. It is time that the citizens of New Brunswick get straight answers from their government.


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