Friday, March 18, 2011


Why is the number 250 significant?

If you answered it is the approximate number of teachers of Aboriginal ancestry working in the public school system in British Columbia, you would be correct. There are about 65 000 Aboriginal students in BC’s public schools and it has been determined that equity is a necessity to ensure that these students, over-represented in statistics under the heading “at-risk”, have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the education system. This is important to correct the ongoing inequity experienced by these children in a western education system that is foreign to their traditional ways of knowing and learning. When we consider the multi-cultural nature of our society, we must remember that many settlers to this country chose to come here and in that decision, buy into the idea of that system. For Aboriginal people and their children, there was never a choice. I do not know if Aboriginal teachers will solve that issue, but it is a start. The current ratio of Aboriginal teacher to Aboriginal student is 1:260. For equity, we would need approximately 3500 teachers of Aboriginal ancestry to enter the system.


Why is the number 250 significant?

It is significant because we are talking about the challenge in retaining the Aboriginal teacher in the public system and ensuring that they have the support in the isolating environment that is the public school.

It is significant because a few years ago, we were talking about the 300 teachers of Aboriginal ancestry in the public system.

*Thank you to David Wees for the figuring out the ratio and to Marjorie Dumont for the approximate numbers. All of these numbers are estimates. I think it is time for another survey to be done of public school teachers of Aboriginal ancestry in order to determine numbers and needs for resolving challenges faced by these teachers. Marjorie is the Director of the Aboriginal Education program at the BCTF and her numbers may be considered the most accurate.

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