Voting Liberal may not be an option
Published Friday May 23rd, 2008
The decision to eliminate the early French immersion program is wrong.
Both of my children (Grade 7 and Grade 3) are in the program now and I could care less if they score advanced, intermediate, or basic in the French proficiency test at the end of high school.
Both of my boys speak French today.
It is too late to start a French immersion program in Grade 5 (especially with boys). You will get fewer boys in the program and they will not learn as quickly as they do when they are young.
I grew up an anglophone in Quebec. I did a one-year French immersion program in Grade 7.
My younger sister had the opportunity to do early French immersion. My sister is fluent in French. I failed my high school French and ended up having to go to summer school to graduate.
It is easier to learn a second language when you are young. This provincial government is giving parents less choice in the education of their children. This decision will make learning French harder for English children. Instead of helping to bring the French and English communities closer, it will polarize the two communities. I am thankful my children are already in the early French immersion program.
This province has an opportunity to be a leader in French immersion education.
This government's decision would move the province in the wrong direction. I believe it would be better to have all New Brunswick children take early French immersion until Grade 5.
Imagine the outcry from anglo parents if a N.B. Government tried to implement this.
Why does Minister Lamrock feel a decision like this must be made with such haste? Why is it being pushed through? Why not introduce a late immersion program and see how it works before eliminating the early French immersion program that we know already works?
Most parents who have children in early French immersion believe it is a good program. This decision does not directly affect me as I have no more children entering the education system but I am deeply concerned about how this decision will affect New Brunswick.
I will not be voting Liberal in the next provincial election, if I do not see a positive change on this issue.
Chris Lynn, Fredericton
An education in rhetoric
On the front page of a recent newspaper, Kelly Lamrock informed New Brunswickers that he had reversed a decision to force-feed students a "one-size-fits-all" education program that one of his fellow ministers characterized as the "biggest mistake in education."
Oddly, less than two weeks ago, this same government was touting its one-size-fits-all French program as "universal."
Which is it?
Does Lamrock believe by removing all French instruction from the first five years of schooling against all advice of language learning experts inside the province and abroad he is doing something noble. The lack of French instruction is, at very least, "universal."
Or does he believe that such "one-size-fits-all" education systems do not let students reach their full potential? One thing is for sure, the minister could give the whole province an education in rhetoric.
Dawn Ashford, Fredericton
Only one minister did homework
In March and April, two ministers of government each made a major announcement.
One formed his plan with international experts in the appropriate industry, HLT Advisory Inc. and KPMG. The other hired two New Brunswickers with only a passing knowledge of the field.
The first signaled months ago that he was taking New Brunswick into a new venture. The second allowed only two weeks for citizens to discuss the most radical changes in his field in 20 years.
The first has treated the small amount of opposition to his plan with respect and dignity. The second came out swinging when research centres, scholars and citizens called his plan the bad result of a bad process.
I am referring, of course, to Minister Boudreau's recent announcement of a casino in Moncton, and Minister Lamrock's still-embattled plan for French instruction in the province - most recently derided by Dr. Genesee of McGill university as like taking a sledgehammer to fix a boat.
Liberals, who persist in supporting Lamrock's plan, probably imagine that the growing opposition is some sort of anti-Liberal campaign.
But they should take note of these differences.
Minister Boudreau did his homework and is advancing his file.
Minister Lamrock continues to govern through intuition and is miring the whole party down with him.
Michel Roy, Fredericton
Telegraph-Journal letters May 23, 2008
High standards go both ways
In Monday's Telegraph-Journal, Minister Lamrock says he will test schools to make sure they uphold a high standard.
Yet when he introduced his radical plans for changes in French education in the province, he included the provision that, for the time being, he would lower the standards of French education in N.B. and consider it a success when students achieved a standard two levels below the current goal of the early French immersion program and one level below the goal of late French immersion program.
I have a suggestion for the teachers and schools that Minister Lamrock wants to put under the microscope. Why don't they state that "for the time being" all tests and papers that previously rated a "C" would now receive "A" grades. Like the minister, they could then claim a rousing success in two years.
They probably won't though: they have too much pride in trying to achieve real results.
JENNIFER GUIDRY, Fredericton
The dangers of 'fantasy' government
In Monday's front-page article, Kelly Lamrock compares his work as Education Minister with his hobby: "fantasy football," what the article describes as an online game he participates in where users can draft players and earn points when those players score.
For the past months we've watched Minister Lamrock reject the opinions of experts, make radical last-minute changes to programs based on erroneous statistics and argue for his choices with all the grace of a 10 year-old Xbox warrior.¨ (Click here to link to Minister Lamrock's comments in the Telegraph Journal, May 19th, 2008)
Now we know why: he's playing "fantasy government."
But while in his hobby no real people are hurt by his arm-chair quarterbacking, this province's French education is in danger of falling into the bush leagues.
RACHEL WEBB, Fredericton
Friday, May 23, 2008
Voting Liberal may not be an option