Reserve schools failing First Nations students: study

VANCOUVER - Reserve schools are failing Canada's aboriginal students and there is no quick-and-easy fix, says a new report from the C.D.

See Full Article

Howe Institute.

A study released Thursday by the research group found that only four of 10 young adults living on reserves across the country have finished high school.

Those figures contrast sharply with graduation rates of seven out of 10 for off-reserve aboriginals and nine out of 10 for non-aboriginals. The study also found eight out of 10 Metis graduate from high school across the country.

John Richards, one of the study's authors, said any attempt at reform needs to be multi-pronged and more incremental than earlier attempts at sweeping, legislative solutions.

"There's no silver bullet here. Giving more money won't fix it all," Richards said in an interview, adding that an increase in funding is still an essential part of any viable plan to improve on-reserve schools.

The study called "Students in Jeopardy: An Agenda for Improving Results in Band-Operated Schools" highlights the many repercussions stemming from low levels of education, including unemployment, poverty, limited social and economic opportunities, crime, health problems and ongoing dependence on government for housing.

"This bleak prospect should make improving education results for on-reserve students imperative for bands, the (Assembly of First Nations) and the federal government," reads the report.

The research singles out British Columbia as leading the country for high-school certification on reserves, coming in at nearly 60 per cent - handily topping the national average of 42 per cent.

B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier was quoted late last year as celebrating a nine-percentage-point jump in the aboriginal graduation rate in the province over the past six years, both on and off reserves.

In comparison, the graduation level in Manitoba was pegged at 30 per cent, about half that of British Columbia's.

Richards attributed B.C.'s relative success to several factors, including the presence of a provincewide aboriginal education group that acts as a pseudo-school board, as well as collaboration between B.C.'s First Nations Education Steering Committee, the province and the federal government.

He spoke against focusing immediately on legislation as a solution, referencing the high-profile failures of the Kelowna Accord a decade ago and, more recently, Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act that drew loud opposition from the aboriginal community.

"The diversity of viewpoints among First Nation leaders and the often poorly informed positions advanced in Parliament mean that legislative reserve-school reform has become a Sisyphean exercise," the report read.

Instead, Richards pushed for incremental change by increasing reserve-school funding, setting clear and measurable targets, regularly assessing those targets and affirming band responsibilities.

"A prerequisite to improving reserve schools is to acknowledge First Nations' legitimate distrust of government, rooted in Canada's efforts to dismantle aboriginal languages and cultures, in particular through residential schools," reads the report.

A spokeswoman for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said the Liberal government will make "significant new investments" to ensure children on reserves receive a quality education, while also respecting the principle of First Nations control of First Nations education.

"The government will explore options and develop a road map to move forward on First Nation education. We will be able to provide more details once that direction is established," said Valerie Hache in a statement.

"By sitting down with First Nations and listening to their concerns and ideas, we will be able to determine together how to improve education outcomes for First Nation students and ensure First Nation control of education reforms in their communities."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Feds called upon to make air transport essential service for Inuit, North

    Canada News CTV News
    Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus Tracking every case of COVID-19 in Canada PM Trudeau says more medical supplies coming in days as industry retools Source
  • Florida police taking another look at disappearance depicted in Netflix's Tiger King

    World News CBC News
    It might be the biggest diversion from the coronavirus pandemic: binge-watching the luridly fascinating Netflix documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Now a Florida sheriff is asking the public for tips regarding one of the lingering mysteries raised in the recently released show: What happened to Carole Baskin's husband? Source
  • Citing COVID-19, Saudi Arabia asks Muslims to put hajj plans on hold

    World News CBC News
    Saudi Arabia wants Muslims to wait until there is more clarity about the COVID-19 pandemic before planning to attend the annual hajj pilgrimage, the minister for hajj and umrah said on state TV Tuesday. Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world usually flock to the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the weeklong ritual, which is considered a mandatory duty for able-bodied Muslim at least once in their lifetime, as well as a major source of income for the kingdom. Source
  • Facebook joins resistance to Bolsonaro virus claims

    World News CTV News
    SAO PAULO -- Major social media companies are taking aim at Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's dismissal of social distancing, joining others in the country who have lined up against his controversial stance regarding the new coronavirus. Source
  • Private funeral, public memorial later set for Joseph Lowery

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- A small, private funeral service for the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery will be held this week out of concerns about the coronavirus, but a large public memorial for the civil rights leader will be held this fall, family members said Tuesday. Source
  • Los Angeles County sheriff abandoning effort to shut down firearms dealers in wake of COVID-19

    World News CTV News
    Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus Tracking every case of COVID-19 in Canada PM Trudeau says more medical supplies coming in days as industry retools Source
  • People claiming to have COVID-19 are threatening to cough on officers: N.S. RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia RCMP says people claiming to have COVID-19 are threatening to cough on police officers. The Mounties say, over the past several days, a number of RCMP officers have reported being threatened to be coughed on by people claiming to have the virus. Source
  • Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews in fight over virus rules

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM, ISRAEL -- Israeli police with face masks and batons and backed by surveillance helicopters have stepped up patrols of ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods that have become coronavirus hotspots. This week has seen tense altercations, and some rabbis have admitted that their communities, where prayer and scripture study are traditionally communal, are not observing new social distancing regulations. Source
  • Prisoner advocates urge release strategy to prevent spread of COVID-19 behind bars

    Canada News CBC News
    Prisoners' advocates are ramping up calls to release lower-risk offenders after the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) confirmed COVID-19 cases in two penitentiaries — and are warning that maintaining crowded conditions behind bars during a global pandemic could have disastrous consequences. Source
  • Bill Blair asks prison, parole heads to consider releasing some inmates to stop spread of COVID-19

    Canada News CBC News
    Prisoners' advocates are ramping up calls to release lower-risk offenders after the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) confirmed COVID-19 cases in two penitentiaries — and are warning that maintaining crowded conditions behind bars during a global pandemic could have disastrous consequences. Source