Thursday, May 1, 2008

Letters May 1, 2008, Telegraph-Journal

Others' schools besting N.B.

We read once again in the papers that the provinces that have early immersion starting in kindergarten fared better than N.B., according to PCAP assessments. It appears obvious that N.B. education policies need reform. I therefore appeal to Kelly Lamrock's rational faculties to consider the following.

Let us look just at Ontario and Alberta. These provinces spend much more per child than N.B. does. Children from these provinces score higher on all relevant tests. They have early immersion. On the basis of the statements made by you and your associates, they have streaming. And they do. What can we infer from all this? Each of these are obvious contributing factors to success in these provinces. From an elementary perspective, it is common sense that children need resources according to their abilities, and that early exposure to multiple languages promotes cognitive development.

Now, Lamrock responds to the need for education reform by eliminating EFI and what he perceives as "streaming." Other provinces obviously did not get where they are by doing what he is imposing in N.B. It is not "an honest disagreement" between Lamrock and the many, many who oppose him. That Croll and Lee is not an honest report should be obvious by now. What other report recommends elimination of EFI as the way forward?

Honest disagreements can stem from open, thorough debate and due process. So far, this government has denied these to the residents of this province.

Professor of Mathematics

Parents need program details

Parents of all children in this province need answers. Parents of children in the English program need to know how the new intensive French program is going to be implemented. How are the teachers going to fit 10 months of curriculum in five months?

Then what happens? French language arts every day plus social studies in French mandatory to Grade 12? Parents of special needs children need to know how the program will be taught in an "inclusive" class if their child does not have bilingual assistance. Will these children have to do the English portion of the program twice? How is that inclusive?

Parents of children who will be going into late immersion will need to know what the realistic outcomes of the program will be with the reduction in French instruction time. Math/science will be taught in English under the new plan. How much instructional time will there be in French? Parents of children 'grandfathered' in early immersion need answers of how government will insure there will be enough French educators. They will want assurances that all programs and textbooks will be kept up to date.

I heard today that in at least one district, a remedial reading program for EFI has been canceled. Has the Department of Education already given up on the children in EFI? Most importantly, how are these recent changes in the education system going to improve the education of our children?


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