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Jan. 14_2013 Letter K-12 Partners to Min McRae re Grad Requirements Review.pdf

Jan. 14_2013 Letter K-12 Partners to Min McRae re Grad Requirements Review.pdf

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Published by The Vancouver Sun

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Published by: The Vancouver Sun on Jan 15, 2013
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01/16/2013

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Deborah Jeffrey K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table c/o #113-100 Park Royal South West Vancouver, BC V7T 1A2

January 14, 2013 Honorable Don McRae Minister of Education PO Box 9059 STN PROV GOVT Victoria, BC V8W 9E2 Dear Minister McRae: On behalf of the K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table, we would like to thank you for the Ministry of Education’s willingness to engage in discussions with provincial partner groups to continue to improve the success of Aboriginal students in the BC school system. We would like to acknowledge that through effective and respectful partnerships, advancements in Aboriginal education have been achieved. In 1999, key education stakeholders demonstrated their commitment to improving the success of Aboriginal learners in BC by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and forming a K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table. The mandate of the Partners to work together, and within, their respective organizations to develop and implement a comprehensive, coordinated, and strategic approach to improve educational success for all Aboriginal learners in British Columbia. The Partner organizations currently include: • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, BC Region (AANDC) • Association of BC Deans of Education (ABCDE) • BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) • BC Ministry of Education (MEd) • BC Ministry of Education Teacher Regulation Branch (MEd TRB) • BC Principals’ and Vice Principals’ Association (BCPVPA) • BC School Superintendents’ Association (BCSSA) • BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) • BC Representative for Children and Youth (RCYBC) • BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) • First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) • First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) • Métis Nation BC The K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table (the “Partners”) meets regularly to collectively focus efforts in a number of critical areas with five specific goals: • To improve educational outcomes of Aboriginal learners in BC, • to increase collaboration among organizations to improve the educational success of Aboriginal learners in BC, • To increase the number of Aboriginal educators,

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To increase awareness, understanding and respect for first Nations, Metis and Inuit knowledge cultures, and histories for all within the school community, and To incorporate Aboriginal perspectives into all levels of decision making, and increase the involvement of Aboriginal communities in decision-making in relation to Aboriginal education.

At this time, as the K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners, we are writing to request that a course in Aboriginal studies be a part of graduation requirements for all students graduating in the BC school system. As you are aware, as of September 2012 the Teacher Regulation Branch has made it a requirement for all new teachers in BC to have 3 credits (or equivalent coursework) in Aboriginal Studies as a part of their requirements for certification. This decision was made “to ensure that the reality of the first Nations experience is reflected in all classrooms for all students”. Similarly, we believe that with a more in-depth knowledge of Aboriginal people and their history, all students in British Columbia will benefit by having a foundation for developing mutual understanding and respect. We value the diversity and cultures of all students in BC schools. However, the requirement for coursework specifically in some aspect of Aboriginal studies is based on the understanding that Aboriginal perspectives and knowledge are a part of the historical and contemporary foundation of BC and Canada. Assuring that all students graduating from the BC school system have at least some understanding of Aboriginal perspectives and knowledge serves as an important step in moving forward positively to build better relationships, and begins to address stereotypes, racism and discrimination. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Province of BC and the Ministry of Education in order to continue to improve the educational outcomes of Aboriginal learners in the provincial school system, and respectfully request that our recommendation be incorporated into the new graduation program requirements. We look forward to receiving your response. Sincerely,

Deborah Jeffrey K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Table cc. Ted Adnitt Leanne Martinson Susan Klinkhamer Colin Chasteauneuf Ayesha Haider Shelley Green Glen Hansman Gail Stromquist Melissa Hyndes Sherri Moore-Arbour Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AANDC) Association of BC Deans (ABCDE) BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) BC Principals/Vice-Principals Association (BCPVPA) BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA)

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Valerie Adrian Kathy Sawchuk Lori Fehr Deborah Jeffrey Jo-Anne Chrona Tyrone McNeil Collette Young Jan Gottfred DeDe DeRose Sherri Mohoruk Dean Goodman Trish Rosborough James Gorman Christina Zacharuk Laura Bickerton Janice Chow Shawn Daniels

BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) BC Schools Superintendents Association (BCSSA) BC Schools Superintendents Association (BCSSA) First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) Ministry of Education (MEd) Ministry of Education (MEd) Ministry of Education (MEd) Ministry of Education (MEd) Ministry of Education (MEd) Ministry of Education, Teacher Regulation Branch (MEd) Ministry of Education, Teacher Regulation Branch (MEd) Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) Representative for Children and Youth (RCY)

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