Thursday, June 5, 2008

Letters June 5th: Lamrock shouldn't take credit for teachers' hard work

Daily Gleaner

At the New Brunswick launch of the Royal Conservatory of Music's Learning Through the Arts, Education Minister Kelly Lamrock stated in his praise of the program that it shows, "you can use music and art to create a more engaging classroom ... the kids are far more engaged than sitting still in a chair."

Lamrock claims that he visits classes frequently. Has he not observed that elementary teachers already do this? Does he really think that today's students are painfully "sitting still in a chair" and that this is the first proof that integrating singing and art into the larger curriculum is a good idea?

The Learning Through the Arts website,, wisely makes no such claim; rather, it states that the project's goal is to provide "rigorous, structured curriculum" and lesson plans that support teachers who are already a long way down this road.

Lamrock needs to stop taking credit for the improvements teachers have already made long before he became minister.

A more productive use of his time would be to find some way to reverse the damage he will do to our province by eliminating all French instruction from the first five years of schooling.

Michelle Williams, Fredericton

Liberals must consult more

Former New Brunswick Liberal Association president Marcelle Mersereau wrote in her weekly Telegraph-Journal column that the Graham government must increase public consultation regarding its more controversial reforms.

I could not agree more. The lack of public input and expert advice has hampered efforts by Premier Shawn Graham to justify the removal of French language education from anglophone elementary schools in New Brunswick.

The support for educational reform in New Brunswick is almost unanimous. Everyone agrees that changes must be made to improve test scores in literacy, numeracy and science.

A society with dismal results in these categories cannot survive in our globalized economy.

While global competitiveness is important when considering what we teach our children, we cannot ignore important local cultural ties. The disrespect shown to our Acadian cousins and neighbours by axing French instruction is absolutely disgraceful.

The Liberal government could have asked New Brunswickers and language experts how best to teach our children a second language within a reformed school system. They instead relied on the opinions of only three people: Jim Croll, Patricia Lee and Kelly Lamrock.

The voices of parents, citizens, teachers and researchers were completely shut out of the discussion. Concerned parents have been forced to approach the courts for a chance to be heard.

This is unacceptable for a 21st century democratic society.

Shawn Graham should take the advice of Mersereau and put a stop to the Lamrock reforms.

The people are not against change; we simply want it done in the right way.

Robert Hoadley, Fredericton

Why did opera singer's comment go unreported?

Is it possible for the provincial newspapers of New Brunswick to be any more deaf to the voices who oppose the Liberal plan to eliminate early French immersion?

A recent edition of The Daily Gleaner, in reporting on Measha Brueggergosman's local launch of the nation-wide Learning Through the Arts program, did not even mention her pointed comments on this issue: "If you can add arts programs and know that's an effective way to teach children, it's a no-brainer that early immersion shouldn't be cut."

Here is a New Brunswicker, internationally-known for her musical talent, who considers her elementary EFI education, alongside her musical one, to be two of the most important things she learned in a New Brunswick school, and the papers deem this un-newsworthy.

If the provincial papers are going to provide us with every ministerial musing on "hidden X factors" in second language learning, could they also inform us of some real-life success stories, too?

Shelley Duguay, Campbell River, B.C.

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