Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The letters continue to come

More on language issues -- Tribune
Published Wednesday May 7th, 2008

I would like to have the opportunity to respond to a previous "view" printed on April 30th. First I would like to put a few facts straight, being a bilingual francophone. The author of the article wrote: "All you have to do is go back to the seventies and eighties when school had their own program that didn't cost anything" and this is where I want to put the emphasis on "we came out of school knowing a second language".

Well, if that were true, this person would have no problem applying for government jobs being a bilingual Anglophone now would she? The evidence is there. That whole generation that had the "old" teaching of French and English is not bilingual. Therefore a change was needed and it did happened with the Early French Immersion. I was taken aback when the provincial government made cuts to the Early French Immersion program, the message sent is: French isn't important enough to teach our children early. Let's put that on the back burner for now.

As for having English or French forced on us, may I remind the author that putting their kids in French Immersion is a choice, not an obligation and lets face it, Canada is a multi-cultural country and soon we will be required to speak not just English or French but a third language as well.

The francophones of this country had and still have little choice but to learn English early on, because the rest of this country is English, save Quebec, and not all francophones want to live in "la belle province". Economic pressures are the drivers here and for survival, being bilingual is a must, not a luxury, so I do agree with her, wake up and smell that coffee! Oh and by the way, being unilingual French isn't all that rosy either. The same jobs are denied to us as well…. Fair is fair after all!

Sandy Harquail, Dalhousie

Majority want EFI in some communities

The Minister of Education talks about a small minority of students in EFI as though any school you walked into in the province would have a tiny number of EFI students in it. When you look at enrolment on a regional basis, you get a different picture. In Grand Falls, Campbellton, Moncton, Riverview, Fredericton, Sackville, Salisbury and Shediac Cape, there were more Grade 1 students enrolled in early immersion than not. It does not make sense to me to eliminate a program the majority the parents in those areas are choosing for their children.


A plan must be implemented well
Times and Transcript

To The Editor:

On April 9 I called the School District 2 office to inquire about the status of the pre-kindergarten assessments (my daughter was tested on Jan. 15). I was informed that the assessments were still in Fredericton and that analyses had to be redone because the person overseeing the process (Mr.. Doug Willms) failed to divide children by age in the first round of analyses.

This past weekend I read an article stating that the results were ready and parents would receive a "very clear letter with the results so that parents can really see what each domain is, see sample questions and understand where their child falls within the scores."

I see no mention of intervention programs. Given that there are only a few weeks left in the school year, maybe there is not sufficient time to follow through with the intervention segment of this new program. Even if intervention sessions will be held, many parents may not be able to change their schedules to attend on such short notice.

This experience has left me with two main concerns (and many more):

1. The pre-kindergarten assessment is the first of MANY new tests to be introduced to the New Brunswick education system. Mr.. Willms is the only "expert" supporting the Lamrock plan which includes more testing and his institute will be paid to do this testing. Does anyone else see a conflict of interest here?

2. Results of the pre-kindergarten assessments were to be available within two weeks, but 16 weeks later I am still waiting for my daughter's results. This leads me to believe that this program may have been implemented too hastily. Given the number of changes Mr.. Lamrock has introduced, I am concerned that some of these may also be implemented hastily. Introducing so many changes at one time certainly increases the likelihood that problems will occur.

I wonder what the 2008-2009 school year will be like for our kids. The word "chaotic" comes to mind!

Jacqueline Jacob-Vogels, Sackville

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