N.B.: the anti-education province
Melodramatic? Sadly, no. Early French immersion works. Yet it is due to be cut because for some reason it is being held responsible for various other failures in the system, failures that will only be exacerbated by the gutting of EFI and which could probably be addressed if proper resources were ever made available. The only explanation that makes sense is the financial one: this government is desperate to pare down its costs and since it will not consider the logical route of fair taxation it is reneging on its fundamental responsibility to safeguard and nurture education in order to make up a shortfall created by its own policies. But then one hears that the expected annual savings are a mere $5 million from a $875 million budget, in a year when N.B. apparently has $369 million more in transfer payments than last year. Can this be true? Is New Brunswick again courting the incredulity of the rest of the country and beyond by threatening to jettison viable and valuable public institutions — first three university campuses, and now an established and successful, if underfunded, EFI programme — for such a paltry payout? Perhaps the provincial government should get its priorities straight and reconsider its pride in offering “the lowest taxes on the cost of doing business in Canada” (with the added bonus, apparently, of a trapped population of poorly-educated worker ants).
Following is a list of resources, groups and events that are part of the fightback against this latest outrage. Check the new page, FI, for updates:
- March 27th —
- Protest at the Legislature: 12 noon-3pm. Buses to Fredericton will leave from various parts of the province during the day. Plan on coming with your children, parents, friends and neighbours (Facebook).
- The Future of French Second Language Education in New Brunswick: a public forum hosted by CBC Radio and Television at 6:30PM at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton. Admission is free. There is no need to register in advance in order to attend. The event will be simulcast on Radio, TV and cbc.ca.
- March 19 —
- Saint John and area meeting, 6:30, Havelock School Library, 500 Young St., Saint John (Google map).
- March 17 —
- Sackville and area meeting, 7:30pm – 10:30pm, Civic Centre, Sackville, NB (here is a brief report)
- Diana Hamilton and Matthew Litvak, Comments on the Croll and Lee NB FSL Report
- Harold Jarche has been posting on the issue on his blog
- Department of Education, French as a Second Language: A Review of Programming and Services
- James Croll and Patricia Lee, Report of the French Second Language Commission (download PDF)
- Diana Hamilton and Matthew Litvak, Response to the Review of French Second Language Programs and Services in NB
- Canadian Parents for French – New Brunswick (Homepage)