Iqaluit parent outraged at loss of French course at middle school
“We feel it’s important that they consult with the parents”
An Iqaluit father is outraged that his daughter, a Grade 7 student at Iqaluit’s Aqsarniit Middle School, will not be able to study French this year.
Glen Tucker said his daughter started French studies last year — and, despite some early problems learning the language, ended up with a B and a desire to continue learning French.
But there’s a problem.
This year French will not be offered to any Grade 7 students at the school.
Tucker said no one was told beforehand or knows why, despite repeated questioning and, most recently, a letter sent to the school principal.
And the teacher who taught French in 2012-13 still works at the school.
“We feel it’s important that they consult with the parents,” Tucker said.
Grade 6 and Grade 8 students still have the option of taking French courses, he said — but those will replace their language arts courses, a requirement for graduation.
All this puzzles Tucker, who says “it’s not acceptable.”
“It seems to be forced on us, that’s for sure,” he said.
Tucker said he studied French when he was younger. Now he wishes he had studied more and he wants his daughter to get more chances to learn the language than he did.
Living in Iqaluit offers a great opportunity to learn three languages, Inuktitut, English and French, he said.
His daughter’s Inuk, Tucker added, noting that ethnicity has nothing to do with the need to learn French.
Tucker said he wants his daughter to be able to get a job wherever she wants — and having three languages will help.
“If you want to find jobs with the federal government you have to learn French,” he said.
Tucker said he also wants his son to be able to continue studying French. He’s at Joamie Elementary School, where he’s already taken five years of French and now speaks the language better than his father.
The loss of French instruction in Grade 7 makes Tucker wonder what happens to his son when he reaches middle school.
That’s something Tucker and other parents say they’ll bring up Sept. 23 at the Iqaluit District Education Authority meeting, where their concerns about the French studies cut at Aqsarniit is now on the agenda.