Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Response to Minister Lamrock's Justifications for His FSL Plan

In recent days, Minister Lamrock has been circulating the following text to justify his plans for French education in NB. A team of us from the Citizens for Educational Choice have taken on the task of annotating the Minister's argument, pointing out errors in fact and argumentation. Although the details are to be found in the following pages, some general points arise repeatedly.

1. The Minister misuses French language learning scholarship. For example, his many misrepresentations of the ideas of Dr. Fred Genesee of McGill has resulted in a letter from Dr. Genesee explaining the problems. If the Minister wants the benefit of experts in FSL, he should assign them with the task of devising an FSL plan for the province or, at very least, heed their warnings regarding the Croll and Lee recommendations.

2. The Minister seems to persist in misunderstanding the nature of French immersion. In this text he presents it as a challenge that suits higher-achieving students; whereas we understand from the works of Dr. Dicks, Dr. Genesee and others, and from the experience of other provinces such as Nova Scotia, that EFI can be accessible to nearly all children.

3. The Minister erroneously argues that the many studies before Croll and Lee support his innovations: they simply do not, and we encourage all to read these reports and determine the truth for themselves. In fact, since the Scraba report of 2002, NB has been encouraged to improve participation and retention in EFI by increasing the resources required to support students within the EFI program.

4. The Minister argues weakly against this less disruptive and more standard solution: he claims that it cannot be done because it has not been done or because a fully detailed plan for this approach does not exist.

5. The Minister frequently suggests that any report or expert opinion which supports an entry point for French immersion later than the current grade one entry point also lends support to his plan for immersion to begin only in grade 6 because such opinions support a 'later' date. We believe that if he were to consult with the authors of these reports, he would find that they consider the grade 6 entry point which he proposes to be quite worse than the grade 2 or grade 3 entry points that some experts advise.

6. Finally, in the title of the piece and throughout, the Minister wishes to suggest that the past two months have been a time of 'study', which should now conclude in a decision. We hope our comments will show that the Minister and Croll and Lee are very far from having studied the topic well, and that the decisions made in haste and ignorance thus far should be delayed so that a true and careful course can be plotted for this important aspect of our province's public education system.

Click this link to find the Minister's original text in italics and CEC's critique in plain text following each point he makes.


Eric said...

Something in the Victoria Star that I thought people might miss. Lamrock is reducing the competency requirements for teachers so they can be moved around more easily. No need to actually know the information, you can teach it anyway.


hamlit said...

Eric thanks for bringing this really great piece to our attention. It is now posted on the our blog.

Eric said...

It all goes back to the biased coverage that people have been discussing. When Canadaeast does print our side of the story, it is far more likely to be in one of their smaller papers rather than the Telegraph Journal.