Friday, May 23, 2008

Experts take exception to Minister’s use of their research

Published online in the Miramichi Leader, May 23, 2008

Please find attached two letters written by leading language experts that take exception with Education Minister Kelly Lamrock's misrepresentation of their research and advice. These letters raise questions regarding the Minister's ability to defend his FSL plan.

Freda Burdett, Citizens for Educational Choice

Scrapping most successful form of second language education seems extreme

by Dr. Fred Genesee

The Honorable Minister of Education of New Brunswick, Mr. Kelly Lamrock, recently released another written response to concerns raised by his decision to eliminate early French immersion from the NB elementary school program — the document was entitled, When Should Study Give Way to Decision? This is a response to some of his statements concerning my own and others' research on second language learning in school settings.


There is a lot at stake: the language education of future New Brunswick students and their ability to compete in the job market, not to mention New Brunswick's rightly valued reputation as the only officially bilingual province in Canada. Scrapping a program that is internationally acknowledged to be the most successful form of second language education seems extreme.

Dr. Fred Genesee is a professor at McGill University

Response to radio interview with Minister of Education Kelly Lamrock

by Dr. Joseph Dicks

I feel compelled to respond to the interview with Minister Lamrock that was aired on Friday, May 16.

There are a number of statements that the minister made that need to be corrected. I find it incredible that the Minister of Education, the person responsible for public education in this province, could make such unqualified statements that ultimately mislead the public on matters related to public education.

Here are some examples of Minister Lamrock's misleading statements ...

There is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding in the general public about second language education. It is a complex and multifaceted field in which professionals spend entire careers educating themselves, future teachers and the public about the various issues and the relative merits of different pathways to bilingualism. It is extremely discouraging and frustrating, therefore, to have a minister of education who, in this area at least, is contributing to public confusion rather than public education.

Dr. Joseph Dicks is the director of the Second Language Research Institute of Canada.

To see full contents of these letters click here

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