French-immersion programs are desired
Re: The Feb. 28 letter from H.W. Druskee regarding the French immersion program in School District 73 (‘Neighbourhood schools for neighbourhood kids’):
I was very disappointed to read this letter. It was so filled with myths and misconceptions that it is hard to know where to start.
If parents who choose to send their children to French-immersion schools are selfish, they are no more selfish than those who send their children to schools with good arts programs, good music programs or good sports programs.
We all want the best education for our children.
It is not hard to learn French, or any second language, when you start very young. My children were fluent in French well before Grade 4, when they would have started core French classes, had they been in the mainstream.
It does not cost more to run a French-immersion program than any other program. Teachers are paid the same, the principals are paid the same, the classes are the same size as other classes. The French-language books and other learning materials are subsidized federally.
If neighbourhood schools are suffering from a decline in enrolment, that is not primarily due to the existence of French-immersion programs. It is a factor of simple demographic trends.
In school districts across B.C., French-immersion programs are oversubscribed and under pressure to expand. Parents request these programs and school districts respond by providing them. Should it be otherwise?