WENDAKE, QC, Aug. 14, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - A study by the Fraser Institute entitled Myths and Realities of First Nations Education and published last week implies that First Nations schools are as well funded if not better funded than provincial schools and that increasing their funding will be of no use unless accompanied by education reform.
With regard to the funding issue, the author of the study has taken a huge shortcut by basing such an affirmation on results that are limited to comparisons of average amounts. She gives no consideration to the fact that the provinces do not fund all their schools at the same level. Out of a concern for fairness, the provinces take account of the living environment and particular needs of children. Funding levels per student vary considerably according to such factors as socio-economic level, special needs, minority languages, isolation and school size, all of which are much more highly determining factors when it comes to First Nations students.
As for the study's conclusion, although the author acknowledges that the government has never supported a real First Nations education system, she wholly ignores considering such support as an option. She holds that the only option which can bring about results is legislation that would force the First Nations to follow the provincial model.
Our First Nations also believe in the need for education reform, but they are convinced that any significant improvement of our children's school results depends on implementing a real education system, one that comes under the control of the First Nations. This means providing an education that puts our reality and culture back in their rightful place, one that makes our young people proud of who they are and motivates them to succeed at school. It means providing an education that strengthens our languages and cultures rather than exterminating them.
We are not the only ones who feel that the researchers at the Fraser Institute take such enormous shortcuts. Science journalist Raymond Lemieux recently posted a blog entry entitled "Grossier" in the August-September 2014 edition of Québec Science, in response to another study by the Fraser Institute which concluded that there was no link between obesity and the bad eating habits we see today courtesy of the agri-food industry.
One may therefore seriously question the objectivity of studies by the Fraser Institute and consider who may profit from them.
SOURCE: First Nations Education Council
For further information: First Nations Education Council, 418-842-7672, 418-254-7818, [email protected]