Here is another letter sent to us for publication that was sent to the HDSB Director. We encourage all sides to send their correspondence for the public to see as the vote happens on Wednesday evening. Many are extremely disappointed and angry once again as to how this process has been concluded. It was and is an opportunity for the HDSB to show us it is not business as usual. For many, however, it is turning out to be a very similar experience.
Dear Mr. Euale,
After reading the article regarding Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead’s comments on French Immersion and Special Education in Inside Halto http://www.insidehalton.com/news/news/article/1023842 and posted on the ‘West Oak Family of Schools’ website, http://wofos.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/new-nw-oakville-high-school-in-the news/#comment-3618 I feel compelled to ask you a few questions and share our families experience with the HDSB over the past 10 years.
Was the Board aware that Batman-Olmstead was going to the press with this article trying to defend the Boards position on some of the most contentious issues? Issues, which are increasingly gaining public scrutiny?
Was this article sanctioned by the Board prior to its release?
Is this considered appropriate conduct for Trustees elected to represent all students?
These questions need to be answered because, the article has been reported as ‘News’ rather than Opinion or as a Letter to the Editor, consequently it is being perceived by the public as an official HDSB statement.
It appears, to many, to be an underhanded manipulative manoeuvre to justify a recommendation which is viewed by many outraged Ward 4 taxpayers as another example of promoting an Optional program for the minority, contrary to the Board’s responsibility to provide a quality education for ALL students.
The Option 5 recommendation with amendments proposed and the ‘possible improvements’ glaringly favours the WANTS of the French Immersion lobbyist. It is expected that at the meeting on June 15th, there will be motions and amendments introduced and pushed through which will result in exceptions, such as starting the FI program with Ecole Forest Trail students when the school opens, flexible boundaries for FI and optional attendance allowing FI students the choice to attend either TA Blakelock or the new High School. Creating the demand needed to guarantee the implementation of the FI program, when the school opens and before it becomes over crowded with the Mandated English Track students within the school boundaries. A very familiar tactic used by the HDSB to artificially create a demand for Optional FI program.
It is also expected that some Trustees will push hard to introduce a Grade 8 French Immersion program which would help to alleviate the overcrowding at Ecole Forest Trail. Overcrowding which was created by accommodating the demands of FI lobbyist for a Single Track school. This will also be a useful tool to try to reduce the attrition rate from FI elementary to high school, especially with the grade 8 program already in the high school.
At the beginning of this process there were very high hopes that finally we would have an honest, responsible, fair and transparent process. Obviously it was far too much to hope for. If it was not so sad it would be laughable that the entire boundary and accommodation process and the inevitable results are so predictable. Once again the cost of pandering to an Optional program will come at the expense of all other students. Students should have programming options, but in an overcrowded High School with a stacked optional FI program there will be precious little, if any room to offer other optional programming to most of the students.
Many ward 4 parents are of the opinion that some statements made by Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead are ground work to justify, once again, giving preferential treatment to the FI program. It has been said in delegations to the board during the last accommodate process, that Kathryn Bateman-Olmstead does not now or ever has represented English Track students. Unfortunately, nothing changes.
Many Ward 4 parents of English track students have had to comfort our children who have suffered from emotional bullying by this Board’s unfair policies and practices, for most of their school years. Of course we are angry about the total disregard for the impact that these elitist policies and favouritism has on the English Track students in Oakville, a factor which has been completely ignored by the decision makers of the past decade.
Members of the HDSB and trustees cannot possibly believe that the recommendation presented for the new High School is the optimal solution to reunite this community. Adopting the modified Option 5 will actually result in a bigger wedge between the two sides. This process has already galvanized those of us who are fed up with our children’s rights being marginalize to facilitate an Optional program, into uniting in a more determined campaign to fight for those rights.
Understanding that you are new to Halton and learning under fire what a highly charged and divisive issue this is, I hope that you will try to steer this Board into focusing on providing a quality Education for all of our children in the future.
Thank you for taking the time to read and acknowledge my email.
Ward 4 parent