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

  • ‘If we all stand up it can stop’: Pink Shirt Day marked around the world

    Canada News CTV News
    As messages of hate seem to be ever present, Pink Shirt Day reminds Canadians of the importance of standing up for one another and fighting stereotypes. Pink Shirt Day started in Nova Scotia in 2007 after a male Grade 9 student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Source
  • UN: $4.4B needed within weeks to stop hunger 'catastrophe'

    World News CTV News
    The United Nations needs $4.4 billion by the end of March to prevent catastrophic hunger and famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, yet just $90 million has been collected so far, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday. Source
  • Quebecer charged in PC Plus breach, collectors urged to fortify password

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Ottawa police have confirmed that a Laval, Que., man is alleged to be behind a scam that involves stealing shoppers’ PC Plus points from their accounts. Police say 21-year-old Ferradji Manigat was arrested on Jan. Source
  • Where are the alleged sextortion sisters hiding? [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    The whereabouts of Toronto’s notorious Matharoo sisters who allegedly sextorted Nigerian billionaires is unknown. Kiran and Jyoti Matharoo — who grew up in Rexdale — became embroiled in a massive sex scandal when they were arrested for allegedly fleecing some of the African country’s wealthiest and most powerful men with threats of releasing raunchy photos. Source
  • Mother makes desperate plea for return of foster son's missing regalia

    Canada News CBC News
    A Surrey, B.C. mother is making a desperate online plea for the return of her foster son's missing First Nations dance regalia. Linda Cyrette says the traditional outfit was stolen from a friend's car that was parked outside of the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in East Vancouver last week. Source
  • Husband's murder charge renews debate over limits of assisted-dying laws

    Canada News CTV News
    Family members of a Quebec man charged with murdering his wife say he did it because she was denied her request for a doctor-assisted death, renewing debate about whether the laws are too restrictive. Michel Cadotte, 55, was arrested at a Montreal nursing home Monday. Source
  • Liberals pretend our laws don’t matter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The steady flow of illegal migrants continues across Canada’s southern border. And the Trudeau government has no plan, no strategy, for dealing with the unprecedented surge in illegal migration. Rather than addressing the problem — the serious threat of unscreened migrants risking their lives to arrive on our doorstep — Liberal politicians have been sending the wrong message. Source
  • Rewritten Trump travel ban order delayed until next week

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The White House is pushing back the release of President Donald Trump’s revamped refugee and immigration executive order until next week. Trump had said his administration would unveil the new order this week, but a White House official says that has been delayed. Source
  • Denver murder victim joins sanctuary city sacrificial lambs

    World News Toronto Sun
    Timothy Cruz has joined the growing list of “sanctuary city” sacrificial lambs. The 32-year-old was shot to death at a Denver light railway station early on Feb. 7. Cops say the motive was robbery. The gunman accused of killing Cruz is illegal immigrant Ever Valles, 19, an alleged gang member. Source
  • Single ISIS women have ‘gangster mentality’

    World News Toronto Sun
    The wife of the Guantanamo Bay captive turned suicide bomber says single women living under ISIS have a “gangster mentality” and revel in the death cult’s barbarity. Shukee Begum told the UK’s Channel 4 she took her five children to Syria in 2014 in an attempt to convince her husband, Jamal Udeen al-Harith, 50, to come home. Source