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ERIC Number: EJ868686
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
A Collision of Culture, Values, and Education Policy: Scrapping Early French Immersion in New Brunswick
Cooke, Max
Education Canada, v49 n2 p46-50 Spr 2009
A CBC New Brunswick Forum broadcast live on March 27, 2008, from Moncton's Capitol Theatre provided a cathartic moment for parents angry at Education Minister Kelly Lamrock, who was linked into the discussion via satellite from Fredericton. Two weeks earlier, Minister Lamrock had declared in a press release that bilingualism was changing from an optional skill pursued by a few to an expectation for all children. His new French-second-language (FSL) plan called for the elimination of the Grade 1 Early French Immersion (EFI) Entry Point in favour of a Grade 5 Late Immersion Entry Point. The Moncton Forum showcased the passion and polarization caused by the government's proposed changes. On one hand, a government was taking measures that it felt were necessary for more equitable student academic outcomes, and on the other, an outspoken segment of citizens was vehemently protecting the status quo. In Canada's only officially bilingual province, this was more than a difficult policy decision--it erupted into a collision of culture and values. Soon after the Moncton showdown, Willms released a policy brief--"The Case for Universal French Instruction"--where he positioned EFI in the context of segregation, or "the separation of people of different social classes, ethnic or racial groups, or sexes into different schools, neighbourhoods, or social institutions." This provocative assertion irked many parents with children enrolled or soon-to-be registered in EFI--many of whom were EFI graduates themselves. Willms' "intolerable equilibrium" has snapped back, halfway at least; less radical changes to the original EFI program have made changing the status quo more tolerable for many New Brunswickers. Testing the limits of this equilibrium became a tool for change, no matter what side of the argument citizens supported. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure and 16 notes.)
Canadian Education Association. 119 Spadina Avenue Suite 705, Toronto, ON M5V 1P9, Canada. Tel: 416-591-6300; Fax: 416-591-5345; e-mail: publications@cea-ace-ca; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada