If you are looking to do more work in Indigenous education in your class or at your school, and need support from Policy to justify your work to colleagues or community members, the new Education Equity Action Plan is one place to turn. Launched in September 2017, the three-year plan lays out concrete guidelines for multiple layers of the education system to improve the "success and well-being" of all students in the provincial system.
Below are passages related to Indigenous content:
An Action Item under Classroom and School Practices: "Strengthening inclusive and culturally responsive and relevant teaching, curriculum, assessment and resources" including "Implement revisions to the Ontario curriculum to include mandatory learning about the history of residential schools, treaties and the legacy of colonialism." (p. 22)
The Education Equity Action Plan calls for "Professional development focused on equity, inclusion and human rights" including "In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action, enhance educator capacity and knowledge related to Indigenous histories and ways of knowing." (p. 27).
Here are commitments to better support Indigenous students:
"Existing structures, policies, programs and practices may unintentionally disadvantage certain student populations, including racialized students, students experiencing poverty, Indigenous students, newcomers to Canada, students who identify as LGBTQ or Two-Spirited, children and youth in care, religious minorities, French language minorities, students with disabilities, and students with special education needs. Our goal is to identify existing systemic barriers and remove them, and to guard against such barriers as we develop new policies and programs." (p. 13-14)
"Enhanced data collection and outcome measurement will support evidence based decision making at the school board and ministry level. Data gathering at the board level will be tailored to meet the needs of local communities that may be facing, for example, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination affecting people with disabilities." (p. 18)
One of the immediate steps the government says they will take in the action plan is "working with Indigenous partners to co-develop indicators of Indigenous student success and well-being." (p.19)
Under Enhance Diversity in Hiring and Promotion - Educators: "Support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous teacher education candidates, with a particular focus on northern communities and Indigenous languages." (p.27)
The Education Equity Action Plan, the parent fact sheet, and other related materials can all be found here on the Ministry's website. For me, the most interesting part of reading this was the use of the words "legacy of colonialism" on page 22. I haven't seen those words in other Ministry documents or policy that I've reviewed in the past, and this mention feels like a step in a good direction. Have you seen colonialism referred to directly in official Ministry documents? What do you think of the new Education Equity Action Plan? Get in touch to let me know!