Friday, June 6, 2008

Letters: Friday June 6th, 2008

Education data explanation needed

The shell game this Liberal government has been playing has got to stop. I have been asking for answers on specifics of the upcoming program changes, which the Liberal government has announced for this coming school year.

It would seem from the article in Tuesday's paper "That's the rub - Data" that I have been asking the wrong questions.

It has been quietly alluded to that the government had made up its mind about these changes long before the Croll/Lee report was commissioned; now it seems there is some evidence in support of this.

The Liberal government spent $180,000 on a report which has not only been shown to be flawed but now it seems very possible the conclusions of the report were arrived at first, then the data selected to fit those conclusions!

The response from the government official is just as reprehensible.

When the data points in a direction other than the one they desire, the teachers are blamed. Is the arrogance of the Liberal government so entrenched that they really expect us to believe that the teaching in the immersion program is substandard?

And this, the program the minister referred to as an enrichment program for elitist parents. They cannot have it both ways!

If the data in this report was truly manipulated to fit a preconceived conclusion, the people of this province deserve an explanation.

The current minister of education must be held responsible. This is on his watch and he alone is accountable.


Daily Gleaner
Lamrock's mind is clouded

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock and his handful of political hawks are leading his Liberal government on a warpath.

He thinks he's found the weapon of mass destruction in the education system, and it's called early French immersion.

He struck quickly and with stealth. He produced a biased report and then dropped the bomb two weeks later. He's been spinning political propaganda ever since - convincing the public and his own caucus that the EFI program is guilty of crimes in the education system.

He demonizes his opponents, draws upon misleading and inaccurate statistics, and blacks out parts of reports that don't support his position.

He does this all very eloquently.

He still comes across as the smartest guy in the room - so sincere, concerned and genuine. But shrewd is not the same as smart.

A smart politician would have looked a little deeper and would have actually consulted with the experts, teachers and parents.

He would have been flexible in his policy decisions, not single-minded. He would have been truthful in his approach.

Instead, he has his own agenda, claiming that EFI is the smoking gun. The real crime against New Brunswick children is the lack of resources in the education system, as all past reports have stated.

Lamrock could have done the right thing and lobbied his government to address inclusion, enhance core French, infuse EFI with real resources and still fully implement his intensive French program. This would have produced a true increase in learning outcomes, as opposed to smoke screened test results.

Lamrock is leading the education system into a quagmire that subsequent governments will have to clean up.

We need some doves in this government to provide the leadership to change this direction before its too late.

Mike Wolfe, Fredericton

Appalled by decision

As the grandparent of a child in French immersion at Fredericton's Connaught Street School, I have been so impressed by the program and the rapid language development of my granddaughter.

I've been privileged to attend several class events, and it's evident that the children are engaged, stimulated and fulfilled by their school experience.

This contrasts starkly with my own children's experience 30 years ago in French immersion in Ontario, and my grandchildren's current unilingual schooling in British Columbia.

Connaught is head and shoulders ahead of those.

I'm appalled that Education Minister Kelly Lamrock is planning to take arbitrary action to tamper with this obvious success - this jewel in the crown of New Brunswick's education system.

Bob Gibson, La Peche, Que.

Letter to the Editor
Published Friday June 6th, 2008
Dear Editor,

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 signalled 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 twenty 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

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