Literacy Pilot Program at First Nations’ Schools

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin recommends a four-year literacy pilot program implemented at two First Nations’ elementary schools should be put into place across Canada. Martin suggested the reading and writing program, implemented at Walpole Island and Kettle and Stony Point First nations in Ontario, improved students literacy performance. The program, designed by Julia O’Sullivan dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, required schools to carry out a mandatory reading and writing period for every student during the first 90 minutes of each day. Kettle and Stony Point First Nation chief Thomas Bressette drew attention to the underfunding of First Nations schools. Bressette noted “there needs to be a period of catch-up time because our people have been looked down on and set back because of underfunding, not because we’re ignorant and we’re dumb and uneducated and incapable of learning, but because of the circumstances.”

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