First Nations children deserve quality education

New Democrats are honoring National Child's Day by launching a petition - Stand Up for First Nations children - to highlight the largest funding gap in children's education across the country.

"Every kid deserves an equal chance but children attending school on-reserve get up to a third less in funding for their education. That means there may not be enough teachers for every grade, necessary repairs can be put off for years leaving schools in bad shape and leaving a whole generation of children without the skills they need to succeed," said Jean Crowder (MP Nanaimo-Cowichan, Aboriginal Affairs critic.

The proposed First Nations Education Act, without adequate funding, will only make things worse.

"The Conservatives are proposing a system top-heavy with bureaucrats that will not put money in the classrooms where it is needed. These kids deserve better, a system that supports their languages and culture while giving them the skills and knowledge to achieve their goals. That's what every Canadian parent wants. Why should one group of kids get less because of where they live?" said Crowder.

Even though Conservatives voted unanimously to support Shannen's Dream - equal access to good schools and quality education for all students - they argued for years that First Nations, on average, get the same level of funding as students at the provincial level. But the facts prove them wrong.

"The Conservatives need to check their numbers. The majority of education dollars go to pay provincial tuition for the minority of kids attending non-reserve schools. That means on-reserve schools sometimes get thousands of dollars less per student than the local provincial school. Fudging the numbers to justify treating some kids differently is discrimination, pure and simple and it has to stop,"  said Crowder.

You can view and sign the petition at: