The proposed Anishinabek Education System will give our students a better education and help them build better lives.
Today, nine in ten Anishinaabe students go to provincial schools off reserve. They don’t learn about being Anishinaabe.
The Anishinabek Education System would make things better in four ways
- First Nations Control
Anishinabek First Nations exercise complete control over education from junior kindergarten to grade 12. The First Nations who join the Anishinabek Education System will:
- Make education laws.
- Build a team of educators and approval its work in developing a school program that includes Anishinabek culture, language, and history.
- Decide how best to deliver programs and services for students.
- Administer funds for university and college students.
- Develop recognized education standards that allow students to transfer between provincial schools and the Anishinabek Education System without academic penalty.
- Built to Serve First Nations
The Anishinabek Education System will be controlled completely by First Nations, and not by any central body (like the Union of Ontario/Anishinabek Nation).
- The Kinoomaadziwin Education Body will act like a school board. It will provide services to First Nations schools. It will handle relations with the provincial schools that Anishinaabe students attend.
- This education body will take direction from First Nations. It will provide advice. But it will not tell First Nations what to do.
- Education councils will help First Nations in each region to share services and work together.
- Like the central education body, the regional education councils will work for the First Nations.
- Shared Resources for Student Success
Anishinabek First Nations can share resources to:
- Build school programs, monitor schools, help teachers to improve, and provide special education services.
- Buy educational programs and services together to save money.
- Set standards for schools to meet, then beat.
- Secure, Predictable Funding
The Anishinabek Education System will have secure and predictable funding from the federal government. This will provide:
- Reliable funding for programs that now need special proposals. This means guaranteed funding for student literacy, numeracy and retention, school success plans, and measurement of student success.
- Stable funding for students to get university degrees, college diplomas, or trades certificates.
- Additional funds for agreed improvements to programs and services, and further increases if more First Nations join the education system.
- Automatic top-ups if the federal government raises its education budget for all First Nations by more than what it provides Anishinabek First Nations.
- Anishinabek First Nations can top up education funds from their own revenues without affecting their federal funding for education
WHAT WE HAVE NOW – Indian Act (Section 114 to 122)
- Minister has responsibility/authority to establish, operate and maintain schools and to provide education to Indian children through agreements with the province, school boards, and religious organizations Section (S.) 114
- Minister regulates and sets standards for education, teaching, buildings, equipment, inspection, discipline and transportation Section (S.) 115, and decides who must attend school Section (S.) 116 and 117
- Sections 118 to 122 are still in effect, although not enforced: Religious denomination of child’s school same as parents, either Protestant or Roman Catholic (Section 118), Truant officers have powers to enforce attendance, enter homes, use force, and take children into custody (Section 119), Band majority’s denomination or a vote decides denomination of teachers on reserve (Section 120), Protestant or Roman Catholic minority of band may have a separate day school or classroom, with Minister’s approval (Section 121), Section 122 defines child, school, and truant officer, which includes teachers and Chief;
- Since 1972, the operation of schools and delivery of education programs devolving to First Nations
- Administrative authority delegated and limited by INAC policy. Education jurisdiction and authority in the hands of First Nations Provincial curriculum and teaching methods;
- Indian Affairs has authority to provide education programs and services to Indian children up to age sixteen (16)
APPROACH WITH RESULTS
Focusing on Anishinaabe student needs will help them attend school, get better grades, and build better futures. Other First Nations have shown that this approach works.
The only other education system that is completely governed by First Nations is the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey in Nova Scotia. It meets all provincial standards and it is run by 12 First Nations. It taught 542 students in 2014–15. Its schools had an average attendance rate of 89.6%. They graduated 89.6% of their students – more than twice the average of 35% for all First Nations schools in Canada.
In Southwestern Ontario, two First Nations helped their students do better in reading, writing and math by putting a strong focus on developing teachers. They worked with local school boards, Ontario’s education department, two universities, and private foundations. Teachers gained individual support along with appropriate resources, teaching guides and measurement tools.
Over four years, scores from students in grades 3 and 6 shot way up to match scores from provincial schools. Today there is very little difference between the standardized test results from the two First Nations and the provincial schools