What is the key to creating the best education for First Nation communities?
Four prime ministers have tried to improve education in Indigenous communities, and three of them failed. Is $2.6 billion in new federal money enough to combat high dropout rates and poor resources? The Mi'kmaw in Nova Scotia are having success with a new approach. Is it a model for the rest of Canada?
More from this episode:
- Eskasoni Immersion School builds strength of Mi'kmaq language
- After seven student deaths, Indigenous educator looks to on-reserve schooling as a solution
- Mi'kmaq student explains the need for Indigenous role models
It's a hopeful place.
Of course, that's why parents send our kids off to school every day. They're hoping education will give them a brighter future, and unlock that golden door to freedom.
But for too many Indigenous children in Canada, school isn't about hope. It's something to endure and survive.
Too many don't make it. Graduation rates at schools on reserve are still below 50 per cent. The numbers are better for those who go to school off-reserve, but the education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids in this country remains vast.
Efforts to reform First Nations education and fund it properly have become a political football, dividing politicians and chiefs for decades now. Justin Trudeau is the latest Prime Minister to offer a fix, committing $2.6 billion dollars over five years. But is it enough? And will funding alone do the trick?
The crisis in Indigenous education is so longstanding it seems to defy solutions. But bright spots exist, and we're here at Membertou to hear those too. Almost 20 years ago, the Mi'kmaw communities of Nova Scotia took back control of education from the federal government. We'll find out today if efforts to bring Mi'kmaw language, customs and history into the schools are paying off.
Our question: What is the key to creating the best education in First Nation communities?
Dan Christmas, the first Mi'kmaw senator, and senior adviser for the First Nation of Membertou, N.S
DarrenGoogoo, Director of Education, Membertou and the New Chair of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board.
Dawn Stevens, Principal of Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School.
Sister Dorothy Moore, member of the Order of Canada. Educator and former principal of Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School.
Karlee Johnson, 3rd year student at Dalhousie University.
NeetaKumaBritten, public school teacher in Sydney, N.S.
KJ Dettanikkeaze,Councillor at Northlands Denesuline First Nations in Lac Brochet, Man.
Norma Kejick, Executive Director of Northern Nishnawbe Education Council.
Mentioned in the show
- First Nations education: Are we still getting it wrong?
- Grading the gap: How First Nations kids are coping with the educational funding gap
- First Nation schools hurt by funding gap
- Deep Water: Searching for answers in the deaths of seven First Nations teens in Thunder Bay
- Liberals given plan to roll First Nations education money out faster, but decided not to (Oct. 6, 2016)
- Justin Trudeau promises $2.6B for First Nations education (Aug.13, 2015)
- Liberal budget includes billions in new spending for aboriginal people (Mar. 22, 2016)
- Julian Marshall, Membertou youth chief, wins CBC Cape Breton Leadership Award
Canadian Education Association
The Chronicle Herald
- Membertou First Nation an economic role model for others: study (Oct. 6, 2016)
- New school in Membertou adds excitement to first day of classes (Sept. 4, 2014)
- Dream catcher: Membertou's turnaround (2012)
- Survivor of Shubenacadie residential school 'elated' by report
The Globe and Mail
- Canada's education system failing aboriginal students: report
- Breaking the cycle: Inside a high school that is reimagining indigenous education
- Native education problems won't be fixed through more funding, study says (Aug. 7, 2014)
- DarrelMcLeod: The problems with First Nations education (May 14, 2014)
- Why fixing First Nations education remains so far out of reach (Aug. 22, 2014)
CD Howe Institute