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May 04, 2009

In other news, oui, c'est vrai!

A report in The National Post the other day goes directly to the point:

French immersion, touted as a way of uniting Canadians under the banner of official bilingualism, is increasingly seen as an elitist program that has instead created a de facto two-tiered public school system that caters to Canada's higher-achieving students.

Although some proponents of French immersion claim otherwise, studies show a side effect that favours students with higher learning abilities and fewer behavioural problems. Meanwhile, students with learning disabilities, those from low-income families, and newcomers to Canada are often counselled out of enrolling in French-immersion programs.

Is this actually news to anyone? Of course the French immersion program is elitist . . . it's the way the well-off have smuggled a quasi-separate school system into the public schools. Wasn't that exactly what the originators wanted?

According to a 2004 Statistics Canada report entitled French Immersion 30 Years Later, students in French-immersion programs tend to come from more affluent families than non-immersion students. They also perform significantly better on reading-assessment tests than non-immersion students, even when tested in English. The report also found that girls account for roughly 60% of students in French immersion in all provinces except Quebec.

Posted by Nicholas at May 4, 2009 12:07 PM

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