Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Letters on NB Government's lack of understanding, ability to listen, and warring with their constituents.

Lamrock shows lack of understanding

Hearing of Kelly Lamrock's latest plan to revamp the education system (standardized testing for teachers), and reading of Measha Brueggergosman's comments re: the cutting of the early French immersion program, I am struck (again) by the minister's apparent lack of understanding of language, and indeed of culture (specifically music, art, and education).

In cutting the early French immersion program, which is a program "that works," Lamrock claims to be broadening the accessibility of language acquisition. Rather he is adopting a lowest-common-denominator approach that degrades a system already in trouble, rather than playing to its strengths. He has claimed in the past few weeks that students are currently being taught "too many concepts" in math, and so he has made changes to that curriculum.

Learning a language is not akin to learning a subject like math. Language is a way of contextualizing everything we do; it is a framework for teaching subjects like math and science. Immersing children in language at a young age is a proven way to teach it effectively. Like music and art, language is a mode of expression. Like music and art, it is a way of thinking and perceiving and expressing experience.

His arrogance in not consulting those with expertise in education (including teachers), and in his rejection and disrespect of opposition to his broad-strokes, profoundly disruptive plans, is breathtaking.

Why do Lamrock and the Liberal government underestimate the abilities of students and teachers so, and why must we all pay the price of his underestimation?


Is premier really ready to listen?

I am wondering if Mr. Graham is truly ready to implement the ideas of this newest report mentioned in Wednesday's paper entitled, "Can we Talk?" To me the concept seems like common sense. Could it have been the coming together of the people during the UNBSJ fiasco in which Mr. Graham was quite willing to jeopardize the reputation of our University to change it to a polytechnic school that has caused this change of direction for our governing officials? Or could it be the impending judicial review over the reckless changes to our French second language program that have left parents with no other option than to sue our government?

It is a shame that it took $100,000 to tell our leaders that labelling parents who didn't agree with their decision to eliminate choice in their child's education, as emotional members of an elitist self-interest group, probably wasn't a smart or proper thing to do.

Mr. Graham and his ministers have got to show respect and consideration to people who have dissenting opinions. Then and only then, will this government regain some of the respect and confidence it has lost during what seems to be a dictatorship-like style in which decisions have been made.


Letter to the Editor--Bugle Observer Provincial Liberals must stop war of wordsPublished Tuesday May 27th, 2008

Dear Editor,

The Liberals' war of words on the people of New Brunswick has got to stop.

It is simply unconscionable that a minister of state would refer to one optional educational program, early French immersion, as "segregated," while praising other proposed optional programs, such as enrichment and late French immersion, as suiting students' needs.

Segregation is a word that stinks of racial prejudice and sexism, and it has no place in this debate. When most people use it, they mean that people are forced into separate groups, like African-Americans on public transportation in the 1950s.

Early French immersion is an option, and if anyone was unable to take it, this was because the minister has never made good on the Liberal campaign promise to fulfill the recommendations of the McKay report and provide sufficient resource help for the existing French program.

Until he can use less loaded words, the Liberals should stop Lamrock from tinkering with the subjects that really matter to the fabric of our province and set his sights on improving our scores in the one topic on which he is an obvious expert: rhetoric.

If the Liberals don't stop, at least we'll be the number one province in that field by 2010.

David James, Fredericton

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