Toward minimally cohesive utterances

The quality of French by anglophones in this province will quickly slide to “minimally cohesive utterances” if the Minister of Education, Kelly Lamrock, has his way and abolishes Early French Immersion (EFI).

About 75 concerned citizens met in Sackville this evening to discuss how we can reverse this decision that was based on the seriously flawed Croll & Lee Report. Prof. Diana Hamilton, who teaches statistics, categorically states that, “Almost all of the math is wrong”, in this report. Obviously, Kelly Lamrock did not major in Mathematics.

The Minister has based his decisions not only on a flawed report, but in the face of tremendous evidence that EFI is more effective, is actually cheaper than the alternative being proposed, and in the words of his own Department; NB School District #2:

Will my child’s English skills suffer because of immersion?

This question has been studied extensively during the past 25 years, both in Canada and abroad. The conclusion is that, far from hindering English development, knowledge of another language is actually beneficial in improving capabilities in the first langauge [sic], and increases the ability to learn a third and fourth language.

There may be certain lags in English Language Arts when a child enrols in an early French immersion program. However, after the introduction of English Language Arts instruction, children quickly catch up to their peers. Students have shown consistently over the years that, by the end of grade 6, children in immersion programs perform as well as or better than their peers in the regular program.

If our children are having academic or other problems in French immersion, should we transfer them to the English program?

Research and experience have shown that children with problems can benefit from a French immersion program. They learn their basic sills [sic] at their individual rate, and still acquire competence in French. There are very few instances where transferring a child out of immersion benefits the child.

Many activities and events are being planned, and the Hamlit2008 blog will be the main site for information on events in our community. There are also several Facebook groups – Save French Immersion in NB, Save Early EFI in Canada’s Bilingual Province, and more. There was some discussion about a protest at the Legislature before the session ends on March 28th, so if any other communities are planning the same, please let us know.

CBC Radio is also organizing The Future of French Second Language Education in New Brunswick at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on Thursday, March 27th at 6:30 PM. So far, the Minister has declined an invitation to attend. I guess he’s too busy doing remedial math.

One Response to “Toward minimally cohesive utterances”

  1. Emily

    I agree completely. I have been in both the core program and the early french immersion program (which I began in grade 4) and have to say I am very thankful to have the knowledge of French that I do. It has been very helpful.

    What I don’t understand is that now, in Canada’s ONLY bilingual province, students are being given LESS of an oppurtunity to learn French than students in Alberta and Brittish Columbia. Is this fair? NO. So, because the government feels the excellent EFI program is costing them too much, they’re getting rid of it and settling for having a generation of people who can speak mediocre French?

    If they think it is weakening the system; it is not. The truth is, there are more behavior problems in the English program, BUT even if they eliminate EFI, there will still be the same amount of problems as they are caused on a more personal level and can’t be changed by the school system.


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