Monday, June 16, 2008

District 16 schools planning for possibility [of] continuation of early French immersion

Published Monday June 16th, 2008
by Daniel Martins

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock announced the end of early French immersion in March, to be replaced by intensive French beginning in Grade 5. Core French would also have been abolished.
In the ruling, Justice Hugh McLellan of the Court of Queen's Bench called Lamrock's decision "unfair and unreasonable," and said the government needed more public consultation before making a final decision on early immersion.
Retired early immersion teacher Esther Mahoney said she was pleased at the judge's decision.

"We certainly need time for consultation," she said. "Hopefully [Lamrock] will be listening to the concerns of the parents and put a bit more thought into it before there is action; put some more thought into the future of our children, and certainly the future of bilingualism in the province."
During question period in the legislature last week, the Opposition Conservatives charged that Lamrock would scrap the program regardless of what the six-week consultation shows.

"This minister has no intention of debating the people of New Brunswick," said Opposition MLA Keith Ashfield. "He will take from those discussions what he wants, with no expertise other than his own, to promote French second language education in this province."

MLA Mike Olscamp wondered if the six-week consultation program was long enough.

"Given the chaos that has been created with this decision, does the minister believe that, come September, those issues will be settled and the school year will get off to a smooth, good start?" he said.

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