Despite years of promises, there’s still a gap: today, far fewer First Nations kids graduate from grade 12 than other kids in Canada because they aren't receiving the proper funding and support needed for a quality education.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), it’s that it was wrong to take Indigenous children from their communities. Indigenous parents and communities should be supported as they educate their children.
Change is possible. We know that when Indigenous kids have the funding and culturally appropriate education that they need, they thrive!
There have been some big commitments made, and the federal government has promised to live into the Calls to Action of the TRC. But change has been slow, and we’re not where we should be. A generation of Indigenous kids are waiting for justice and equity and that’s not okay. Now is the time for follow-through on promises.
Together, we can speak up so that all kids in Canada get quality education. It’s only right!
What are we advocating for?
The math is easy: a history of underfunding First Nations schools has meant less money for school libraries, extracurricular activities, retaining strong teachers, I.T., healthy school buildings, and more. And that’s translated into a graduation gap: in spring 2018 the Auditor General reported that the real grade 12 graduation rate for Indigenous students is 24%, compared to a national average around 90%.
Kids know what fairness looks like--and this isn’t fair.
Involvement of elders & communities
Together. We know that education works best when the full community owns it, whether that’s through parent-run independent schools, homeschooling, or community support for public schools. The same goes for First Nations schools: When culture and language are celebrated in curriculum, and when communities and elders play a role in education, students thrive!
How are we doing?
After hearing thousands of hours of testimony about how Canada got Indigenous education wrong in the residential school system, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended 4 systemic changes to make things right.
This is what reconciliation looks like….but how are we doing so far? Here’s our ‘report card’ on TRC Calls to Action 7-10 on K-12 education, based on consultations with Indigenous leaders and educators and available data.
Grading scale: Excellent (A), Promising (B),Needs Improvement (C), Needs Major Improvement (D), No significant progress (F)
Call to Action 7: Come up with a plan to eliminate education and employment gaps
C minus- Needs improvement
Call to Action 8: Fix the funding gap
C- Needs improvement
Call to Action 9: Release an annual report on education funding
C- Needs improvement
Call to Action 10: Introduce new Indigenous education legislation
B (Promising) in some cases, C (Needs improvement) in other cases
How can you get involved?
Take a Picture - Raise awareness of the need for quality First Nations education by snapping a shot of yourself wearing a backpack or with the people you look up to (your parents, grandparents, mentors) and post it on social media with a link to this page and the #EducationTogether hashtag. Together, we can make a change!
Speak up together - Let your Member of Parliament know that you think that First Nations kids deserve better education. It’s only right! You can use this online action alert to take action right away, or get some friends or classmates together and send postcards to Ottawa. It’s free!
Join the movement. Bring Education Together to your Sunday school class or school.