Study Proposes New Approach To Reserve Schooling

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 14:30



A public policy professor says on-reserve schools need to be administered by Aboriginal-run school authorities if graduation rates amongst Aboriginal students are going to improve.


John Richards teaches at Simon Fraser University and wrote a report called “Closing the Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal Education Gaps” for the C.D. Howe Institute.


He is calling for school authorities that would be independent of bands and that would administer at least a dozen schools each.


Richards says, otherwise, it is too difficult for individual schools to get the proper resources, such as qualified teachers.


Richards says the system could be similar to what was done 50 years ago to rural schools.


He suspects bands will be hesitant to agree to the idea, because it would be perceived by some as an initiative designed to undermine the authority of band councils.


However, he says there is a model in BC between the provincial government, Ottawa and BC First Nations that he believes is a promising precedent for “professionalizing” on-reserve school administration.


He also says there should be a sense of urgency from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal politicians to do something about Aboriginal graduation rates, or the low rates will continue.