French Immersion

Just got back from that information session on the proposed changes to the French Immersion system. I have fairly strong feelings on this but I know my judgement is clouded by my personal situation (three kids in the system).

But I will say this. I think we need to rethink how very large scale public policy decisions are made in this province. This decision on French Immersion represents a huge change with wide ranging impacts (for example, apparently already some 50 French Immersion teachers have left Region 2 to go to Region 1). And now I hear that some well placed Tories are saying that if the system is changed, they will run on a platform to change it back in 2010.

Our kids shouldn’t be political ping pong balls. Major decisions like this should require a 2/3 majority in the Legislature or some form of public plebiscite. It shouldn’t be easy to make large scale public policy decisions that will have far ranging implications.

I’m not even commenting directly on this issue. I am saying that there must be decisions that must rise above the fray and once they are made it would take a serious effort to unmake them. Throwing the whole english language education system in turmoil only to have it flipped back 18 months later is crazy.

There must be a better way.

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0 Responses to French Immersion

  1. Rob says:

    I’d agree w/ you David. Let’s say hypothetically that Minister Lamrock rules that EFI remains dead on Aug 5. Then let’s say the Tories come to power in 2010, and restore EFI for September 2011. By 2014, you could have three seperate school curricula in place in a single K-8 school: pre-Croll-Lee, Croll-Lee, and post-Croll Lee.
    That’s a recipe for chaos.

    This entire school system reform was dreamt up in less than 3 months, and laid out in a report that has been ripped apart by academia. We’ll be implementing the report in full in a single month after Aug 5. Like you said, we need a better model for policy creation and implementation.

    The report on the Public Engagement Initiative says we should create and implement policy on a 15 year horizon rather than the 4-year political cycle. Perhaps then we wouldn’t have the giant tectonic shifts in education every 5 or so years. The Scraba report blamed this constant policy churn for our low school scores.

    Maybe a bipartisan legislative committee on education should be formed to oversee these large-scale policy changes. That way, if the Opposition signs on to the changes, we wouldn’t have to change horses in mid-stream after each election.