Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tories grill Lamrock on teacher qualifications

Published Wednesday May 21st, 2008

FREDERICTON - Intensive French teachers will not be held to the same qualification standards as immersion teachers when the province's new plan kicks into effect this fall, and students will suffer for it, the Opposition Tories charged Tuesday.

Critic Madeleine Dubé repeatedly pressed Education Minister Kelly Lamrock on the issue of teacher qualifications during Question Period. Starting in September, a universal intensive program beginning in Grade 5 will replace both core French and early immersion.

"If you want to have the best results for our students, we need to have the right teachers with the right qualifications in the classroom," Dubé said.

Her concerns were tied to Policy 309, an education department document that establishes guidelines for the provision of French second language programming in New Brunswick's anglophone school districts.

Section 5 of the policy dictates the minimum levels of teacher proficiency for core French and immersion programs, as defined by the province's Second Language Proficiency Scale. For core French, that level is set at Advanced. For immersion programs, teachers must function at the Superior level.

The document does not account for the new intensive French program, leading Dubé to press the issue. Later in the day, Lamrock pegged that level at Advanced Plus, a step down from Superior.

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