Academic journal article McGill Journal of Education (Online)

Inequity of Education Financial Resources: A Case Study of First Nations School Funding Compared to Provincial School Funding in Saskatchewan

Academic journal article McGill Journal of Education (Online)

Inequity of Education Financial Resources: A Case Study of First Nations School Funding Compared to Provincial School Funding in Saskatchewan

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. In a review of First Nations band-managed school policies, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2002) noted what had been devolved was "the specific operation of the school. What was not devolved was an [education] system which would support the school" (p. 5) delivery of quality educational programming for First Nations' students. The purpose of this paper is to compare available second level services and funding levels provided in schools operated by a Tribal Council and a provincial school division. Differences in service levels and funding, the authors argue, must be addressed if equitable services and enhanced learning experiences are to be available to all students regardless of school type attended.

INÉQU ITÉS DANS LES RESS OURCES FINANC IÈRES EN ÉDUC ATION : ÉTUDE DE CAS COMPARANT LE FINANCE MENT DES ÉCOLES AUT OCHT ONES AU FINANCE MENT PROVINCIAL DES ÉCOLES EN SASKATCHEWAN

RÉSU MÉ. En effectuant un examen des politiques de gestion scolaire des peuples autochtones, le Département des affaires autochtones et Développement du Nord Canada a relevé en 2002 que ce qui avait été décentralisé était « la gestion spécifique de l'école. Ce qui n'avait pas été délégué était un système [d'éducation] qui pourrait supporter l'école » (p. 5) dans le déploiement de programmes éducationnels de qualité destinés aux étudiants autochtones. L'objectif de cet article est de comparer les services complémentaires et les niveaux de financement offerts dans les écoles administrées par les conseils de bandes à ceux prodigués par la division scolaire provinciale. Selon l'auteur, les différences existant en termes de niveaux de service et de financement doivent être abordées afin que tous les étudiants - quelque soit l'établissement scolaire fréquenté - reçoivent des services équitables ainsi que des expériences d'apprentissage bonifiées.

In 1973, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) notified the President of the National Indian Brotherhood (NIB) that he agreed "completely" (Chrétien, 1973, p.1) with their policy document Indian Control of Indian Education (ICIE). The document, developed by Chiefs and Councils and various Indigenous organizations across Canada, was a statement of educational philosophy, values, and future direction for First Nations educational jurisdiction (Henderson, 1995). ICIE espoused Indian parental responsibility and local control of education in partnership with the federal government. Over the next two decades, INAC divested itself of teachers, educational superintendents, and other professionals as the federal government embarked upon a devolution plan to transfer educational administrative responsibility to First Nations within the parameters of the Indian Act. The transfer of schools for the most part to individual First Nations was accomplished within existing federal legislation, administrative arrangements, policies, and without any significant increase in budgetary levels.

In 2002, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs noted that what had been devolved was "the specific operation of the school. What was not devolved was an [education] system which would support the school" (p. 5) and the classroom teacher in the delivery of quality educational programming for all First Nations students. The failure to fund First Nations educational system(s) has left First Nations schools unable to provide supportive second level services similar to the array of services established in provincial school boards/divisions. Such services compliment the classroom teacher's instruction and initiatives by supporting individual student learning requirements through a variety of services provided by language arts consultants, psychologists, speech therapists, special education and curriculum specialists, among others. Furthermore, the federal government's policy decision to cap financial allocations/transfers to First Nations at a 2% funding increase per year in effect guaranteed an inadequate funding formula for First Nations education since the cap did not take into account increases in student enrolment, requirements for ongoing curriculum development, appropriate programming to meet student needs, or cost of living and price increases. …

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