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2014-02-07 at 17:16

‘Reshuffling?’

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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The federal government announced more than $1 billion for First Nations education Friday and Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is wondering where that funding will come from.

"Where is all the money coming from in light of the fact that we have so many cutbacks in many areas of First Nations programs and services?" said Beardy Friday afternoon.

"Is this a reshuffling of excessive dollars and pool everything on education?"

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the plan at a high school on the Blood reserve in southern Alberta alongside Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo.

Called the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, Harper announced $1.25 billion over three years beginning in 2016 with an annual increase of 4.5 per cent.

There will also be $500 million for school infrastructure over seven years and $160 million over four years for implementation.

The Canadian Press reported the plan also calls for minimum education standards consistent with provincial standards off-reserve. The act also says students will have to meet attendance requirements and teachers will have to be properly certified.

While Atleo called it the beginning of a new era for First Nations children, Beardy said he still has questions.

"It's just an announcement. There are no real details," he said.

However, the Ontario chief said they do welcome dialogue.

"I think this is an opportunity to sit down with the federal government and try to find a way how we're going to move together on this," he said.

Beardy added it's good the discussion on education for First Nations children is out in the forefront.

"Opportunities for First Nations children to access proper education is lacking and it's a burden on society as a whole. If First Nations do well in terms of education, then all of Canada benefits," he said.

MP Greg Rickford (Con., Kenora) was in Alberta for the announcement Friday and said the deal was historic, echoing the prime minister's remarks.

"I think it brings in line mutual objectives of ensuring First Nations youth have access to the same standard of education as public schools do across the provinces," he said.

The financial details of the plan will be unveiled in the federal budget next week.

 

--with files from The Canadian Press

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Comments

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Today1 says:
If in society there was no such thing as money, would there not be any means of educating ourselves, or do you have to have money to become educated?
2/7/2014 10:05:15 PM
Killer says:
How about being grateful and thankful it's a step in the right direction for all First Nation people you got what you wanted so move forward instead of wondering where the money came from because really does it matter?
2/7/2014 10:32:37 PM
idontknowitall says:
Perhaps some of it's coming from the closure of the Veterans' Affairs offices, Mr. Beardy. Feel better? Unbelievable.
2/8/2014 5:42:01 AM
SomeGuy says:
Correlation doesn't imply causation.
2/8/2014 1:45:33 PM
East Infection says:
isn't a shuffle just a shuffle? how can you re-shuffle?
2/8/2014 9:54:59 AM
tiredofit says:
Harper seems to have mastered it.
2/8/2014 5:57:43 PM
rocketship says:
The federal gov't is responsible for native education.
They have consistently over the years, refused to match the amounts paid by each province to fund public education.
2/8/2014 12:51:52 PM
TIC says:
Should the amount needed be equal to that of an entire province? That sounds a little off to me. There are less student on these reserves then in the entire public school system for the province so why should they have the same amount of money?
2/8/2014 5:09:23 PM
tsb says:
Schools on First Nations receive half as much funding on a per student basis. That is, a school with 100 students on a First Nation receives about half as much as a school with 100 students in rural Thunder Bay.

In our communities, a school board is allowed to levy a property tax, so a certain amount of everyone's property taxes goes to support schools. For First Nations, there is no such tax to support them, they must depend entirely on the Federal government, and the Federal Government doesn't provide as much funding.
2/8/2014 7:41:36 PM
Baor says:
Not any more TSB, property taxes no longer fund school boards. The province ended that in 96-97 under the Harris government. Approaching 20 years (!).
The province pays the full amount to both boards equally in most cases based on enrolment . In exchange, municipalities were introduced to the words "revenue- neutral downloading of services" where the province no longer paid for land ambulance, free OPP to some communities and other "services" in exchange for full fiscal control over k-12 education. Remember his little war against the teachers? That little box you check is only for trustee voting purposes.
2/8/2014 9:55:41 PM
newhere says:
It is incorrect to say that First Nation schools receive about half as much as Provincial schools. Comparing only the per pupil variable will not provide you with a true accounting since the per pupil amount within the First Nation funding formula is supplemented by a number of other funding factors. Only when all these are added can a comparison with provincial levels be made. In fact, in many cases, the funding for First Nation students is more than what one would receive in a provincial setting. Focusing on funding makes good politics and provides catchy headlines but it does nothing to address the problem of poor performance within many First Nation schools. How about all those involved identifying what they would do differently should additional funds be available. Spending more on a model of delivery that does not work is hardly a step forward.
2/8/2014 9:46:34 PM
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