With the recent election of a government that’s pledged to scrap the mandatory language test, some educators are calling on the Trudeau government to make the test mandatory for all students by the end of the year.
“There are many schools that are not teaching English,” said David Erskine-Smith, a teacher and the executive director of the National Association of English Language Learners (NALEL), a group that advocates for Canadian English language learners.
“And there are some that are teaching it in English in a very poor and misleading way.”
Erspines-Smith is concerned that language skills could be put at risk by a Liberal government that has promised to make English language education mandatory for elementary and secondary students in Canada.
“I think the Liberal government is making a mistake,” he said.
“They’re not addressing the real issue, which is that language is very important to a lot of Canadians.”
Eroskine is calling on Trudeau to scrap English language proficiency tests, arguing that the Liberal leader is doing a disservice to Canadian language learners by ignoring the concerns of parents.
Trudeau, a Canadian who was born and raised in Quebec, has repeatedly insisted that he supports a national English language test.
But he has also said that he is not opposed to a national test, even if it is more complicated than the test in place in the U.S. and the European Union.
The Liberal government has been working on plans to implement the national English test since 2014.
The plan is expected to take effect in the fall of 2019.
It is estimated that the Liberals will have to implement a national assessment of English proficiency in the coming years.
However, Erspsmith is worried that the test will only get harder as the Liberal leadership prepares to take power.
“We have no idea how many students are going to be tested,” he added.
“It’s a huge, huge waste of money.”
Many of Erskes-Smith’s students are from Ontario, and his school in Montreal is in the Montreal area.
Erspenys-Smith said that students who take the test regularly are less likely to struggle with it than those who don’t.
But many of his students do struggle with the test, and Ersks-Smith worries that teachers could be more inclined to test students who are struggling.
“Teachers are a lot more likely to test children who are more struggling with the English language because it’s a really important skill to have in our classrooms,” he explained.
“If teachers are testing students who have the same difficulties as they do, then that’s a problem.”
The Trudeau government has promised that the new language test will be mandatory for students by 2020.
While the Liberal party has been quick to say that the language test is optional, Erosks- Smith said he fears that a test would also be used to target low-income students who don.
The Trudeau Liberals also recently announced plans to abolish a program that allows parents to take a test to help identify their children with developmental delays, autism or other learning disabilities.
The new language testing plans will be a step forward for language learning, Eyskines- Smith added, but he thinks the Liberal plan will have the unintended consequence of undermining Canadian language learning.
“My concern is that it’s just a step back in the direction of a more aggressive approach to language learning that is going to make it more difficult for Canadians,” he stated.
“But I’m also worried that it will actually be less effective because it will be much harder for teachers to be sure that their students are on track.”
Eysks-says that the Trudeau Liberals will be able to justify this decision by arguing that it would benefit the economy.
“What is the economic impact?
If it’s going to create more jobs, it’ll create more revenue,” he replied.
“The Liberal government should be focused on helping people in our country to become better citizens.”
He added that he would also like to see the Trudeau Liberal government make a more concerted effort to teach English to children who aren’t native speakers.
“This is a problem that is being faced by our children,” he concluded.