I don't think emotional is the best way to describe the debate over enhancing our education system. Parents are passionate about their children's education. I know I am and so is my wife -who happens to be a teacher by the way. But something had to be done about the low achievements in French proficiency levels and improving our overall education system.
Admittedly, being a part of this decision was difficult for me. I have a daughter in grade 1 early immersion and one in kindergarten that was expected to begin next year. That will not happen now. She will begin learning French in grade 5. I am comfortable with this decision made by our government and as a parent I am satisfied that her opportunities to achieve bilingualism will not be tarnished in 4 years. Neither my wife or I speak French but we both feel that if our girls are to improve their abilities to obtain employment in our Province then they must learn. After all we are the only officially bilingual province in Canada.
Ask any educator about their thoughts of government's decision and you will get an answer. I have yet to meet a teacher that sits on the fence. They are either favourable or vehemently against the following findings:
The report found approximately 91 per cent of the 1,500 or so students who started early immersion in 1995 had dropped out of the program by the time they reached high school.
The study also found that only 0.68 per cent of the high school students that graduated in 2006 after completing the core program had reached the provincial objectives of intermediate oral proficiency.
I should note this problem is only unique to New Brunswick. These results are not the same in any other Province. I will let you draw your own conclusions as to the reasons. I certainly have my own personal view. However, I will say that I will continue to stand behind my colleagues for making tough decisions when they are ostensibly for the right reasons. Sometimes they may not be the most politically popular, but I'd rather campaign on making a decision to provide the best educational opportunities for children in our Province versus doing nothing to improve their chances to succeed!