Thursday, June 12, 2008

Coverage in NB press

Lamrock says he's ready for 'abuse'
Published Thursday June 12th, 2008
The Canadian Press

The provincial government is being forced to reconsider its decision to scrap early French immersion, but it's not backing away from the plan yet.
Education Minister Kelly Lamrock said Wednesday he will bow to a court ruling that quashes his decision and orders the government to allow for a "full debate" on the plan to eliminate early French immersion, beginning in Grade 1.
Lamrock said he will allow six weeks of consultation in June and July before making a final decision Aug. 5, leaving just enough time to make changes for the start of the school year in September.
But he warned that the status quo is not acceptable, saying if parents who want to keep early immersion believe they can hammer the government into submission, they are wrong.
"I and my colleagues have a high threshold for abuse," he said, adding he is open to new ideas on how to improve French language instruction in Canada's only officially bilingual province.
Justice Hugh McLellan of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench ruled it was "unfair and unreasonable" of the government to axe early immersion in English schools without allowing for full debate and public consultation.
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Parents win round
Published Thursday June 12th, 2008

Clea Ward is celebrating with caution.
The Fredericton mom is thrilled Justice Hugh McLellan of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench sided with parents opposed to the provincial government's decision to cut early French immersion.
He has allowed a judicial review of the government's decision, stating Education Minister Kelly Lamrock was unfair and unreasonable in not allowing enough time for debate on the issue.
The ruling is a victory for parents, but the fight is not over, Ward said.
"I'm cautious about celebrating too much because I don't know what this will mean for early French immersion in the long run," Ward said. "(Lamrock) has been so set in this decision that I'm not sure he's going to take this ruling seriously."
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Judge forces province to play nice
Published Thursday June 12th, 2008
Ruling Government to seek more public input on early French immersion after decision.
SAINT JOHN - Parents won a victory in the divisive battle over early French immersion in New Brunswick schools Wednesday as Justice Hugh McLennan ruled the government fell down on its duty to consult with the public.
Calling Education Minister Kelly Lamrock's decision "unfair and unreasonable," McLellan quashed the phase-out of early immersion and urged the province to allow time for interested citizens to make their opinions heard.
To that end, Lamrock will be opening up the issue to a six-week discussion period, during which other potential programming plans can be tabled and examined. On Aug. 5, a final decision will be announced that will determine what happens in September.
Elation erupted at the Court of Queen's Bench - filled to capacity with parents, children and journalists - after the judge handed out paper copies of his seven-page decision. A brief scramble to obtain copies of the documents was followed by silence as people pored over the contents.
Soon, gasps of "we won" rang out from parents and a few hand claps grew into a round of applause. Handshakes and hugs were exchanged, and backs slapped.
"We're feeling pretty great," said Ray Small, one of the parents named in the affidavit submitted with the application for a judicial review of Lamrock's decision.
"The court has spoken."
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Setback should be opportunity as well
Published Thursday June 12th, 2008
MARTY KLINKENBERG, Telegraph-Journal

The government that spent $100,000 this spring to learn how to better engage New Brunswickers was slapped upside the head by a judge on Wednesday for refusing to engage New Brunswickers.
Obviously, there is a lesson here, but if Wednesday is an indication, it will be lost on the Liberals. Shortly before they were chastised for limiting public discussion on early French immersion, they made a move in the legislature to stifle debate on 19 bills that are waiting to be considered, Sunday hunting included.
Sooner or later, the government will either understand its opinion isn't the only one that counts, or it will be bounced from office by those pesky voters that keep making it hard for the Liberals to do what they please.
In a decision issued in Saint John, Justice Hugh McLellan on Wednesday called the government's plan to scrap early French immersion "unfair and unreasonable" and ordered that future decisions not be made until citizens and organized groups have an opportunity to be heard.
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Sackville council asks premier to save immersion
Published Thursday June 12th, 2008, Times and Transcript
Wallie Sears
Council calls on premier to halt changes until long-term economic impact can be assessed
SACKVILLE - Proposed changes to French second language instruction in the province are seen here as a further hindrance to economic development and in one of its first moves, the recently elected town council has called on Premier Shawn Graham to put a halt on implementing the procedures until its impact on long-term economic interests of the town can be assessed and an appropriate mitigation strategy adopted.
The motion notes that the province will be left without a system of second language instruction comparable to other provinces and the changes will not affect the nearby town of Amherst, which operates an early French immersion program.
The council motion goes on to stress that Sackville now competes on a global, national and regional basis when recruiting professionals, academics and businesses that can locate anywhere and that Sackville's ability to recruit people who value second language instruction for their children will be seriously compromised by the proposed changes to the province's education system.
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Immersion changes unfair, judge rules
Published Thursday June 12th, 2008, Times and Transcript
Education minister pledges more consultation, says changes could still be in place for September
Mary Moszynski, Times & Transcript Staff
FREDERICTON - Education Minister Kelly Lamrock will consult New Brunswickers over the summer regarding changes to French immersion after a judge ruled government didn't allow enough time for debate on its decision to scrap early immersion.
But Lamrock was adamant he wants to hear alternative suggestions to cancelling what's considered by many as the Cadillac program for teaching French, saying government isn't going to abandon its goals of improving bilingualism rates and addressing the issue of streaming.
"If the next six weeks turns into a test of 'can we hammer government so hard that they'll simply forget they ever wanted questions to answer, they'll turn their backs on those kids.' That isn't likely to happen," he told reporters. "I, and my colleagues, have a high threshold for abuse.
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N.B. holds more talks on early French immersion after losing court case
Published Wednesday June 11th, 2008

FREDERICTON - Plans to scrap early French immersion in New Brunswick's schools were put on hold for at least the next couple of months on Wednesday after parents fighting the government decision scored a victory in court.
Education Minister Kelly Lamrock says in the meantime, he will set up a website and consult with those affected until July 25 before announcing his intentions for the program on Aug. 5.
The government had planned to scrap the program starting in September, but that was thrown into doubt when Justice Hugh McLellan of the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench ruled Lamrock didn't allow enough time for debate on the issue.
"Thus the decision of the minister was unfair and unreasonable," McLellan wrote.
The judgment quashed Lamrock's decision in March to scrap the program and sent the matter back to the government for further review.
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