French immersion fury
That's what a group of Oakville parents suggests has happened in the Halton board in a story we have today.
In response to demand, according to the board, Oakville has some French-only schools, forcing some families to look outside their area for an English program. These parents say the French immersion bias means there's not enough room for boys, ESL and special-needs students in this system, or those from less-privileged backgrounds.
This is an issue I think we all have to look at honestly. We have our boy in his first year of French immersion (see my post "Stumbling toward bilingual"), and we're yet to know whether it will work out for him beyond senior kindergarten or grade one. But I've heard from parents with much more experience in the school system than me that a sort of pseudo-private system was beginning to exist with French Immersion. Some parents select the program, she explained, not because of any sort of love of the language, but because it meant there would be fewer high-needs kids in their child's class.
See, people don't tend to add French into the mix when they're just worrying about their child grasping English, or learning to manage dyslexia. If they are less affluent and don't have the money for extra tutoring, they are less likely to choose French immersion. They're even less likely to opt for - or stick with - a French program if they have boys, who - arguably - may be more likely than girls to have issues sitting quietly during carpet time or just generally paying attention to the program.
What do you think? Has this happened in your neighbourhood? Be sure to check out the story and the rigorous debate going on in the comments.