N.B. Teachers' Association claims Grade 1 too early to begin French immersion
Members of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association say that Grade 1 is too early to begin French immersion.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant made the announcement on Tuesday. The idea was in his election platform, but was never clearly stated in the recent education plan.
"We see no need to change entry points for the sake of change," said Guy Arseneault, president of the New Brunswick Teachers Association.
French immersion entry points have changed a number of times in New Brunswick.
In 2008, the Department of Education proposed government should cancel early French immersion in favour of late immersion, beginning in Grade 6.
There was some outcry, and a compromise was made to move immersion to Grade 3, which is where it's been ever since.
"Any major change in the education system in New Brunswick lends to some instability in the system,” said Arseneault. “The education plan was supposed to give us that stability, so I don't believe that we should be making changes of this nature for the sake of making changes."
Now Education Minister Brian Kenny has confirmed that is their intention.
"As the premier said earlier this week, government remains committed to working with educators to restore early immersion to Grade 1 and we will get it done," Kenny said in a statement to CTV News.
The opposition is also speaking out about it, saying it's a big change that needs to be discussed.
"They did a ten-year education plan. They wanted everyone to participate in that. They said we'll leave it up to the teachers to figure out the 'how', now they're making policy decisions that affect the classroom in a big, big way," said Opposition Leader Bruce Fitch.
The first students who would have been integrated into French immersion in Grade 3 would be in Grade 11 now.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.