A survey put out by the New Brunswick government on the province’s French immersion program is raising a few eyebrows.
The 10-question survey was launched last week, and sought public consultation on the program.
“I went through the survey. In fact, I filled it out and I found that the questions are leading as if they are designed to get a predetermined outcome from the survey,” said Green Party leader David Coon.
Questions included, “Given the now documented success of the Grade 3 entry point and the challenges we are facing acquiring qualified French teachers at the Grade 1 entry point, how supportive would you be of a return to a Grade 3 entry point for French Immersion?”
“This survey is not the beginning or end of this consultation. I have encouraged people, If anyone wants to actually have a serious conversation about french immersion or anything to do with the education system on my cell … send me an email,” said Education Minister Dominic Cardy during a daycare announcement in Hanwell Monday.
Cardy admits the survey wasn’t drafted by experts in data collection.
“Anything that comes out of my department, I take full responsibility for — that’s the drill,” he said.
When asked who drafted the questions, he responded, “My department.”
It’s a contentious issue as provincial governments have flipped between which grade to start French immersion, resulting in lower than desired rates of graduating bilingual students.
Recent findings outlined by the province’s auditor general suggests many immersion teachers lack the proficiency to actually teach French. In that same report, Kim MacPherson says the education system has undergone too many reforms and needs stability.
The Liberal government is questioning the survey and the fact the topic has even come up for discussion, given the AG’s recent findings.
“All of the information provided before the survey is slanted to support the minister’s desire to move to a Grade 3 entry point. If Minister Cardy is looking for New Brunswickers’ unbiased opinions, then I would suggest that he hire an outside agency to conduct his consultations as it is crystal clear that he is trying to influence the outcome of his so-called consultation to satisfy his own desire, ” said Chuck Chiasson, the Liberal critic for education and early childhood development.
WATCH: Serious concerns with French immersion program, wants public input: N.B. education minister
Meantime, the leader of the Green Party says a government committee should be formed to look at immersion and to hear from all stakeholders and parents of students in the system.
“After that exercise in democracy and transparency, declare recommendations to the government as to how to move forward,” said Coon.
That topic will more than likely be broached when the house resumes sitting March 19.