New Brunswick — After realizing that New Brunswick’s illiteracy and unemployment rate is higher than ever, New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy admitted that the blame falls on the province’s education system, and has called for a review of the English program specifically.
“When we look at early immersion French students, or ‘French Fries’ as they’re called by fellow students, usually their grades are higher because they’re using more of their brain to learn a second language,” said Cardy. “They tend to be more involved in school and activities, and go on to pursue post-secondary education and meaningful careers.
“We look at the English-only students, or so-called ‘English Muffins’…their grades are a lot worse, they tend to skip class more often, and they’re usually the ones having babies in Grade 11.”
Cardy and his team are entertaining the idea of forcing all students in New Brunswick to be in the French Immersion program from Grade 1, with the goal of stimulating more brain activity in youth and doing away with the issue of people not knowing French and English to qualify for New Brunswick jobs.
“The problem is that the English program is pumping out graduates who can’t even speak or write English. So that program obviously isn’t working,” explained Cardy. “Whereas most graduates from our early French immersion program can easily speak two languages. The solution seems obvious to me!”
The potential initiative, if launched, would not be grandfathered in, but would take effect immediately, with current “English Muffins” switched over to become “French Fries.”
As expected in New Brunswick, not everyone is happy with the idea.
“There’s no way in hell I’m putting my kids in French Immersion,” said Gord MacCallum of Minto. “All their schooling has been in English — how will they know what all the words and sayings they use are in French, like ‘Déjà vu,’ ‘Cliché’ and ‘Fiancé’? You don’t just magically know all this stuff!”
“No one in my family speaks a lick of French, and I don’t need my kids learning it neither!” exclaimed Sarah Washburn of Woodstock. “We’re all unemployed only because the damn Frenchies get all the good jobs. But I know my kids will get jobs because by the time they graduate, the People’s Alliance will have fixed all the bilingualism problems!”
Cardy said that part of the review will involve testing Grade 12 students from both English and French Immersion on English language proficiency. There will also be public consultation sessions on the idea, held in Moncton, Dieppe, Caraquet and along the Acadian Peninsula.