Nova Scotian parent advocacy group reflects on New Brunswick French second language review



    HALIFAX, March 10 /CNW/ - Canadian Parents for French - Nova Scotia, a
parent-led advocacy group, is calling upon Shawn Graham, the Premier of New
Brunswick to reject the recent recommendations made in the commissioned
report, A Comprehensive Review of French Second Language Programs and Services
Within the Anglophone Sector of the New Brunswick Department of Education
prepared by Dr. James Croll and Mrs. Patricia Lee. The report makes
substantial recommendations that will strengthen the core French program with
the introduction of mandatory Intensive French. However, the report also
recommends the elimination of all French instruction prior to grade Five
including early immersion, and offer the choice of late immersion or enriched
Core French only.
    "While the introduction of a province-wide Intensive French program is
laudable, Intensive French was never meant to replace an immersion program. It
is an enhancement to an extended core French program", states Gren Jones,
President of Canadian Parents for French - Nova Scotia, "Without students
building upon the ground work achieved in core French before Intensive French,
the program will definitely fail its expected outcomes".
    The Report also raises the issue of streaming within the New Brunswick
English education system. With no resource teachers available in French
immersion, parents are often counseled to move their children to the English
stream. Studies have shown that children with literacy delays simply carry
these problems over into the English class while losing their peer group.
According to the Report, the English stream is already overloaded with
students requiring literacy support and personalized learning programs.
    The authors of the Report also raised concerns regarding attrition at the
senior high level. A student survey published by CPF in The State of
French-Second-Language Education in Canada 2005 identified timetabling
conflicts, wider choice of courses in English and too few classes in French,
particularly courses required for post-secondary studies as major reasons for
students dropping out of French immersion. "Few students in New Brunswick seem
to actually drop out of the program, but rather come up against scheduling
issues or lack of course choices in French", adds Gren Jones from reading
student comments. "There are a great many positive benefits to immersion
programs, it would be more cost effective for New Brunswick to improve the
programs in place than to implement a completely new Intensive French
program".
    CPF publishes The State of French Second Language Education in Canada
reports which are an assessment of how well French-second language (FSL)
programs are faring across Canada and examine the quality of national and
provincial/territorial support for FSL programs offered to Canadian students.
From 2000-2006, the reports have combined current FSL research topics as well
as FSL enrolment summary statistics and analyses of FSL enrolment trends
across Canada.
    To request a copy of The State of French-Second-Language Education in
Canada 2006, please contact our branch office at (902) 453-2048.

    Canadian Parents for French (CPF) is the national network of volunteers
that values French as an integral part of Canada and is dedicated to the
promotion and creation of French second language opportunities for young
Canadians.




For further information:

For further information: Gren Jones, President, (902) 679-6691; Rebecca
Lancaster, Executive Director, Canadian Parents for French - Nova Scotia,
(902) 453-2048

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Canadian Parents for French

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