In reading Globe And Mail article on First Nations’ education ‘First nation’s quiet revolution will begin in the classroom’, calling for education reform among schools on reserve to address the social and economic problems within native communities through high school graduation. The ideas are complex but a few seem clear. More cultural influence, consistent reports on students progress, a new prescribed structure, and more comprehensible pathways to higher education and employment will increase likelihood of high school graduation, therefore the betterment of social and economic life.
One of the problems I find with this theory of bringing change within First Nations communities is the assumption that the success we need, or even seek, is economic progress. If the goal of a group is not economic progress but resurgence of traditional cultural values and principles, where does high school completion fit in?
Economic progress appears sound in theory with bringing in more material wealth but it is ultimately destroying diversity, both eco and ethnic, the world over through its homogenizing and destructive nature. It seeks a monoculture among people and among the planet. The compulsory education system used by Western countries is no different.
Yes, youth need to be more involved in culture. But how can schools still maintain the values of indigenous peoples when schools are inherently violating the rights of autonomy for children? And it doesn’t just go against the philosophy of education indigenous peoples and nature hold, but with the emerging understanding of business. It’s an outdated model of education and business. (http://ow.ly/3uyyH http://ow.ly/3uyzC)
The idea that high school is essential is a damaging idea that is pushing people who haven’t finished high school away from their dreams and goals. Separating education from completing high school and allowing more space for other options is what we need. Increasing funding for education is needed but the means to the ends is going to be different because we as a group are looking for a different end.
Most importantly, we need to discuss this ourselves. We need to ask our community members, is progress within Western economy really what we need? Is it aligned with the values of our ancestors and traditions? What are our goals?
It feels strange and full of inaccuracy when I see reports on high school completion being the right and normal way when my life and so many other unschoolers are contrary to the fact. These are just a few thoughts. I’ll post more later.