Monday, June 9, 2008

Immersion changes not properly explained, parents say

Times and Transcript, June 9th
Surveys quizzed parents on planned FSL curriculum changes

FREDERICTON - The results from surveys handed out in schools across the province are starting to come back, and the response thus far is overwhelmingly against the elimination of early immersion.

Within weeks of Education Minister Kelly Lamrock's sweeping reforms to the French second language system, a number of parent school support committees sent a survey home with students to gather more information on how the changes were being perceived by parents.

Approximately three-quarters of parents who responded expressed dissatisfaction at the axing of early immersion.

The process has been completed at five schools -- three in Fredericton and two in Sackville -- and at least a dozen more surveys are still under way, in regions including Saint John, Moncton, Miramichi and Sussex.

The survey contains seven questions, asking parents to weigh in on whether Lamrock's decision was adequately explained, the level of consultation, and whether plans for implementing the changes are sufficient.

Parents are also quizzed on their support for the new intensive French program, the elimination of core and early immersion programming, and the Ombudsman's recommendation to delay Lamrock's plan.

The numbers tell a similar story in each of the five surveys completed so far. In most schools, between a third and a half of parents responded. Overall, approximately 70 per cent said the decision was not properly explained and the opportunity for feedback was inadequate.

About 75 per cent were against the elimination of early immersion, while only about half supported the new intensive French program.

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