Kudos to the local chapter of Canadian Parents for French for refusing to let the French Immersion program here fall by the wayside without a fight.
It’s the parents themselves, however, who now have to carry the ball. And that must start by attending a “town hall” meeting on the future of French Immersion here scheduled for this coming Monday (May 15) at 7:45 p.m. upstairs at La Place Rendez-Vous.
A poor turnout certainly won’t convince the Northwest Catholic District School Board to reverse its decision last month to phase out French Immersion starting this fall, or even consider other options to allow the program to keep running.
On the surface, one cannot fault the local Catholic board for finally pulling the plug on FI due to low enrolment. To its credit, it did try to keep the program afloat for the past few years even though the 20-student minimum wasn’t met.
And to her credit, local CPF president Marie Brady isn’t gunning to get the board to completely reverse its decision. Rather, she wants Monday night’s meeting to look forward—to explore various options (such as starting FI later or allowing multiple entry points into the program) that will allow it to continue in some form here.
Obviously, French Immersion is not for every student. But being fluent in French is a clear advantage in a bilingual country like Canada in terms of career opportunities and local families deserve to have that choice.
In the end, though, organizations like Canadian Parents for French can only do so much and school boards can only go so far. Those who believe in French Immersion now have one more chance to save the program—it’s up to them to make use of it Monday night.