I am shocked and immensely disappointed that at their May 14 meeting, the Chilliwack School Board voted against the implementation of early French immersion (EFI) for September 2014. How archaic! Chilliwack will now remain just one of a very small handful of districts around the province that still doesn’t offer EFI.
As a product of the EFI program in Coquitlam, I started in EFI kindergarten in 1983, so why am I having to fight for access to this proven program for my young sons a full 30 years later? French is an official language in Canada, and since my husband and I are not of Francophone heritage, our only option for our kids to gain maximum fluency at school is EFI.
Shame on the board for this misguided decision, and shame on Trustee Weins for abstaining to vote; you are elected officials and have not met the express needs of your community.
Additionally, the dedicated group of parents that has been able to rally enough support for EFI in the past three years – all on their own, using just traditional and social media, to fill two classes (one Kindergarten, one Grade 1) for the proposed Sept. 2014 intake – are devastated. Many of us started working on lobbying the board since our children were just babies. Those children are now almost school aged, and we are now faced with sending our kids to school in Abbotsford if we are going to access EFI.
Clearly the Chilliwack School Board has not yet joined the 20th Century, let alone the 21st. Nous sommes très decouragés.