Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chief Charles Weasel Head at last week’s announcement about changes to First Nation education. (Photo by Arnell Tailfeathers)
Angela Sterritt, CBC News, February 12, 2014– Twila Singer knows a thing or two about education on-reserve.
All five of her children are part of the Kainai First Nation and went to school on the Blood Tribe Reserve – in Blackfoot territory – close to Stand Off in southern Alberta. Her eldest son is now in college and her youngest is in Grade 1.
So when Singer caught wind of a community event last week, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to announce a historic education agreement between the federal government and First Nations, she put her ear to the ground.
“No one knew what was going on, we were left in the dark,” said Singer.
The release also publicized a peaceful rally outside the Kainai Nation High School, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper made his announcement related to First Nations education.
On the day of the event, Singer made the decision to go inside for the announcement.
“We just prayed and decided that it would be OK, it would be safe to go in,” she said, but she didn’t expect what unfolded once they arrived inside.
Blue dots for uninvited guests
“We were separated at the door and given either a blue dot or a yellow dot. The blue dots were uninvited guests and were ushered to the gymnasium, and the invited guests were the yellow dots and they were brought to the auditorium where the dignitaries were.”
Along with about 40 others in the gym, Singer and her daughters, aged seven and 17, viewed what was happening in the auditorium on TV monitors. At the end, the invited guests were directed to go to the gym for a feast.
That’s when Singer was kicked out – for tweeting.
“I was so confused. Everyone around me was on their phone. My baby has never experienced violence or anger, she started to cry, so I left. In all honesty I was really embarrassed.”
Then, her 17-year old daughter was asked to leave.
In a video posted online, Singer’s teen daughter, Bryn Taylor, is seen being confronted by three men, two standing in front of her, and one man at her side. The man on the side wraps his arm around her back for almost a minute, and then lifts her up by her arm.
As people behind her shout “leave her alone” and “this is what my reconciliation looks like,” two men pick her up by each arm and she hits the floor, then they pick her up and escort her out.
“Our families were in there, our people were in there, people who we love and interact with every day, and I think she was wanting somebody to say something,” said Singer.
She said the air of silence mixed with confusion captured the essence of the announcement about changes to the First Nations Education Act that day.
“We didn’t develop it, or have a referendum on it, we were left out of the loop,” she said.
The Blood Tribe and Kainai Board of Education also put out a press release on the day of the announcement that said the proposed act “has not met the Crown’s legal duty to consult and accommodate.”
The release said the “proposed legislation is being forced on the Blood Tribe and it is similar to how the government assimilated Blood children through Indian residential schools.”
But consultation is something the engineers of the proposed First Nations control of First Nations education act tout. According to the official website, the agreement is the result of “intensive consultations, discussions, dialogue and studies.”
It stated that “the first phase included eight consultation sessions across Canada, more than 30 video and teleconference sessions, and online consultation activities, was completed in May 2013.”
Arnell Tailfeathers, who was at the announcement as an invited guest in a media capacity tweeted to @CBC_Aboriginal, “Treaty 7 chiefs had a teleconference with Valcourt in Calgary. Valcourt hung up on them after he was done speaking.”
For Saddle Lake councillor Shannon Houle, the federal government’s assertion of consultation could not be further from the truth.
Read More: CBC News
Posted in BC Education, Equity, Ethics, First Nations Education, Government, Idle No More, Indigeneity, K-12 issues, Students, Teachers
Tagged BC education, education policy, education reform, First Nations Education, K-12 issues, Students, Teachers
Campaign 2000, November 26, 2013– The latest figures from Statistics Canada (2011) once again show that BC is the worst province in Canada when it comes to major measures of child poverty:
- BC had a child poverty rate of 18.6 per cent — the worst rate of any province in Canada, using the before-tax low income cut-offs of Statistics Canada as the measure of poverty.
- BC had the worst poverty rate of any province for children living in single mother families — 49.8 per cent.
- BC also had the worst poverty rate of any province for children living in two-parent families — 14 per cent.
- BC’s poverty rate for children under 6 years at 20.7 per cent is 8 percentage points higher than the Canadian average.
- British Columbia also had the most unequal distribution of income among rich and poor families with children. The ratio of the average incomes of the richest 10 per cent compared to the poorest 10 per cent was 12.6 — the worst of any province.
Despite these shameful facts, and a decade of similarly dismal statistics, BC has inexplicably refused to follow the lead of most other provincial and territorial governments, of all political persuasions, to develop and implement a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy.
In 2013, the BC government cannot claim to be ignorant of the abundant evidence of the harm done to children’s health and development by growing up in poverty, nor of the huge additional costs in health care, education, the justice system and lost productivity we are already paying by keeping poverty rates so high.
Read More: British Columbia: 2013 Child Poverty Report Card (Campaign 2000)
Posted in BC Education, Equity, Ethics, Government, Idle No More, K-12 issues, No confidence vote, Poverty, Students
Tagged BC education, education policy, Equity, Ethics, Government, K-12 issues, Students, Working conditions
Vol 4, No 2 (2013)
Table of Contents
Race and Fear of the ‘Other’ in Common Sense Revolution Reforms
Laura Elizabeth Pinto
During the 1990s, Ontario experienced significant social policy reform under the Progressive-Conservative government’s controversial, but straightforward, platform called the Common Sense Revolution (CSR), promising to solve Ontario’s economic problems with lower taxes, smaller government and pro-business policies intended to create jobs. The ideological framing led to policy direction which dismantled existing provincial policies and institutions designed to promote equity. This paper begins by providing evidence to support how the CSR functioned as racist across a broad swath of policy areas, through ideology and coded language, structure and program cuts, and processes. Based on interviews with sixteen policy actors, the paper reveals how the provincial curriculum policy formulation process overtly overlooked and dismantled anti-racism and social justice in curriculum policy.
BCTF’s Teacher Newsmagazine just published an essay by UBC graduate student Tobey Steeves that aims to “map the winners and losers within BC’s education policy-making arena.”
Teacher Newsmagazine (May/June 2012)
Mapping desire and power within the field of education policy in BC
By Tobey Steeves
In their overview of qualitative interviewing (QI) as research methodology, Kvale & Brinkmann (2009) insist “…knowledge is power. The social practice of research interviewing may become a form of democratic practice that can be used to help create a free democratic society.” With this generalized goal in mind, I initiated an interview-based research inquiry into education policy in British Columbia. Beginning with the question: What desires are privileged by education policy in BC?, I solicited the participation of a well-established policy maker/ analyst and organized a series of questions that were designed to elicit a rudimentary outline of education policy in BC as a field of power. Phrased more succinctly, I used targeted questions to map the winners and losers within BC’s education policy-making arena. …
Read the full article here.