Time To Close The Funding Gap For First Nation Schools: New Democrats Vow To Implement shannen’s Dream”
April 14th, 2011 - 7:29pm
The New Democratic Party has put the issue of chronic under-funding of First Nation schools on the political agenda. The New Democrats are the only party to commit to implementing “Shannen’s Dream” which would give First Nation students the same access to quality education as students in the provincial system. Shannen’s Dream is a campaign to close the funding gap for First Nation students. It’s named in honour of the late Shannen Koostachin, a youth who brought national attention to the deplorable education conditions in her isolated reserve of Attawapiskat.
Charlie Angus worked with Shannen Koostachin. He says he is proud that the New Democrats have made the issue of First Nation education a priority.
“The under-funding of First Nation education is a national disgrace. No child in Canada should ever have to beg for a proper school. No child should ever be denied equal access to education resources just because they live on the reserve.”
First Nation schools are funded by the federal government at levels much lower than the rates guaranteed to students in the provincial systems. The inequities have resulted in substandard education. Many reserves do not even have adequate buildings for their kids to attend classes.
Angus says it’s time for change. “For too long, the education rights of First Nation children have been ignored by both Conservative and Liberal governments. This dismissive attitude has to stop. The New Democrats are challenging the other parties to join us in ensuring that First Nation children aren’t ignored.”