--- English schools, Brian Rock, and Quebec reality
I pass my congratulations along to Brian Rock for the Educators Award he recently won, as reported by this newspaper. Since his teaching career seems to have been in the Baie Comeau area I have no idea of his reputation there, or among his students. I usually read his columns although I find them a bit pompous (what is it with all the ceremonial titles he uses for politicians!). His defence of "English rights" and of separate English school boards rubs me the wrong way for two reasons. First, I am the parent of three, two who went through the English system here in Gatineau and one in the French board. I am embarrassed to say this, but neither English grad can speak French very well, although both were granted bilingual certificates. They have both struggled to improve their language skills since then since they both work in Quebec. I also am less than happy with the general education they received -- English books were old and uninspiring, history was awful (this is probably true everywhere in Canada ... now). At once school, my son and his classmates were given old-fashion religious "propaganda" under the guise of "ethics". The problems we had were with the school administration and their "rules". There seemed to be little motivation to improve or try new methods among the board's directors.
Second, a few years ago my anglophone neighbours were angry about French-school history teachers teaching "politics" and their own version of French-English history. From his columns it sounds like Mr Rock practises similar things -- or are these opinions of his just a result of retirement, and he was careful to not colour his classroom presentations?
So far, and speaking as an Anglophone parent within the WQSB, I do not agree with Mr Rock that a separate English system is necessary. In fact they might be obstructionist to advancement within Quebec society. There is no chance Anglo-Quebecers will lose their culture, history or language, given our large continent. Why, if schools are to prepare children for modern life, do we teach them to speak English in a province where effectively the common language of work and political affairs is French?
Yes, yes, they all must win bilingual competency status!
Love your paper ... but not all your columnists! Whatever happened to columnists David McColl or Carole Bertrand?