People’s Alliance is deeply concerned by Premier Higgs stated intention of eliminating French Immersion by the start of the 2023 school year, and implementing an undisclosed alternative in time for the 2024 election.
We believe this to be a poorly considered decision, and we would strongly appeal to the Premier to reconsider. Furthermore, we recognize the turmoil and confusion that many parents are now feeling because of this announcement, and we call on the Premier to further detail his plan.
While fully recognizing the many opportunities within our current program, we believe that eliminating it within the stated time frame would further disadvantage anglophone children without consideration of long-term impact. It has long been identified that frequent political “tinkering” has had a negative impact on our children, and further changes should be carefully developed and implemented, and must not be rushed for the sake of trying to win votes in 2024.
One item identified in a recent report from John McLaughlin and Yvette Finn as part of the review of the Official Languages Act promotes creating an “authentic and immersive language-rich French second language program.” This report also suggests that the creation of an effective program could take several years to fully implement.
New Brunswick is a bilingual province, something that we believe most of us are proud of despite its many struggles. While changes to our program are necessary based on years of inadequate outcomes, the result must be an improvement of bilingual outcomes and accessibility to every student.
Nothing less is acceptable.