French no longer mandatory for Calgary kids between grades four, nine

CALGARY — The Calgary Board of Education is making changes to its second language programming.

CALGARY — The Calgary Board of Education is making changes to its second language programming.

Beginning this fall, French classes will no longer be mandatory for grades four through nine.

Calgary students have been required to take French classes since 2006.

School officials say they are making the change to give extra flexibility to parents.

Superintendent Cathy Faber says from now on, in junior high students will be offered classes in French, Spanish, Chinese or German.

In grades four to six, those choices will be made by the school and parent community.

The policy change is creating concerns for teachers facing layoffs in the public system.

The Alberta Teacher’s Association says it’s caught off guard by the decision and is still trying to determine the implications.

The CBE denies the decision has anything to do with its budget issues and rather focuses on giving students and parents more choices.