10. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:
i. Providing sufficient funding to close identified educational achievement gaps within one generation.
ii. Improving education attainment levels and success rates.
iii. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.
iv. Protecting the right to Aboriginal languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses.
v. Enabling parental and community responsibility, control, and accountability, similar to what parents enjoy in public school systems.
vi. Enabling parents to fully participate in the education of their children.
vii. Respecting and honouring Treaty relationships.
There is limited access to quality education at all levels in Aboriginal communities, especially in the North and in rural areas, and education is underfunded at all levels for Aboriginal youth. Over the past 15 years, there has been no measurable improvement in high school completion rates: 41% of First Nations youth living off-reserve do not complete high school, while 58% of First Nations youth living on-reserve do not. Only 6% of Canada’s Aboriginal population holds a university degree, relative to over 22% of Canadians overall.
Aboriginal Canadians are, however, Canada’s youngest and fastest-growing population, but despite this generation of youth being the first generation not to have experienced residential schools, there may be a lingering sense of distrust towards education within their families. This Call to Action aims to include Aboriginal communities in developing solutions for these problems, including increasing education funding and ensuring that curricula meet the needs of Aboriginal youth.
Further reading: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/widening-education-gap-leaves-aboriginal-canadians-further-behind/article14738527/
Compiled by: Grant Oyston