Early French Immersion changes continue to spark opposition in NB

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick government’s early French immersion program move to grade 1 under scrutiny' New Brunswick government’s early French immersion program move to grade 1 under scrutiny
WATCH ABOVE: The New Brunswick government's move to change its early French immersion program from grade 3 to grade 1 has some people saying it was done too early. Andrew Cromwell reports – Nov 16, 2016

The New Brunswick government’s decision to revert to Grade 1 as the entry point for Early French Immersion continues to be a polarizing issue. Grade 1 French immersion will be available next September but some are saying the move is being made too fast.

READ MORE: New Brunswick French immersion returning to Grade one

“The superintendents and teachers and the administration will have things in place the best they can but I don’t think it’s the best plan moving ahead,” said Conservative Education Critic Gary Crossman. “It is rushed.”

The issue has been a hot topic in the legislature with the Liberals fielding questions from the Opposition for several days. Premier Brian Gallant has pointed out a task force report under the Conservative administration in 2012 recommended a Grade 1 entry point for immersion.

“Information sessions are now being held bringing parents up to speed on how the process is going to take place,” said Gallant. “Not everyone is on board however. At least two district education councils have come out opposed to the move.”

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WATCH: New Brunswick re-implements grade one French immersion

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick re-implements grade one French immersion' New Brunswick re-implements grade one French immersion
New Brunswick re-implements grade one French immersion – Sep 30, 2016

The Anglophone South District Education Council says it’s not about Grade 1 or Grade 3, but having the proper tools in place.

“This is around the logistics of having resources available,” said D.E.C. Chairman Rob Fowler. “Curriculum, staffing all that kind of stuff that makes it very difficult.”

Staffing seems to be the key concern with difficulty in the past to find qualified French immersion teachers.

“We want teachers who are superior French speakers and teachers who have training in teaching a second language,” explained Zoe Watson, superintendent of the Anglophone South School District.

READ MORE:  All English N.B. students should learn French as second language: retired teacher

Fowler adds more time would have been nice.

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“Maybe a year or two later perhaps,” he said. “A chance to really assess how the Grade 3 entry point was working”.

New Brunswick’s Education Minister maintains proper resources will be in place.

“Its going to take some time but we’re really confident that things will work out very well and we do believe that working together is the best way to move forward,” said Brian Kenny.

The Grade 3 entry point will still be available for two more years to allow students currently in Grades 1 and 2 an opportunity to choose early immersion.

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