Quiet voices of par­ents of­ten ig­nored

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPIN­ION -

RE: Time to slay the sa­cred vache (July 4)

Al­though school boards fail to as­sess the bilin­gual­ism rates of French im­mer­sion grad­u­ates, co­pi­ous stud­ies have shown it is a piti­ful five to 10 per cent.

It is the par­ents of this small group — and par­ents them­selves who did well in it — who con­tinue to be praise and pro­mote French im­mer­sion. Their motto should be, “As long as it worked for me and my kid, who cares about the rest.”

They refuse to ac­knowl­edge the over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence that shows it is in­ef­fec­tive at best and elit­ist at worse. They don’t care about the thou­sands of stu­dents in English pro­grams who have lost their home schools.

And what about the hun­dreds of chil­dren with learn­ing chal­lenges who have been forced to drop out of French im­mer­sion be­cause of the lack of sup­ports. Chil­dren need­ing spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices have the high­est at­tri­tion rates in FI.

Many par­ents are se­cretly re­lieved that the “prob­lem” kids who dis­tract the teach­ers are gone. When chal­lenged on this, their re­sponse is al­ways — “why is it wrong for a par­ent to want the best for their child?”

To state the ob­vi­ous, our schools are pub­licly funded and any pro­gram that fails to work for all chil­dren should ei­ther be im­proved or re­moved from the sys­tem. Un­for­tu­nately, school boards and trustees have a ten­dency to lis­ten to the loud­est voices, while the qui­eter voices of par­ents who have chil­dren with Spe­cial Ed­u­ca­tion needs have been largely ig­nored. Denise Davy, Burling­ton

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