An NDP government would not build a new French high school, said NDP Leader Liz Hanson.
There are other options, she said citing a meeting with the francophone school board.
But, beyond co-operation and communication, she was short on details.
Yukon educators need to work better together, said Hanson.
“The department and the minister of education recognized the school board and then they turned around, as they’ve done with First Nations, and refused to talk to them,” she said.
There’s no reason for it to have gone to court, she added.
Co-operation between school boards and councils, teachers, communities, governments and families has not been the norm, she said.
“It’s a whole community thing and a whole family thing,” she said. “You have to start earlier than high school.”
Especially in aboriginal society.
First Nations should have more cultural influence in the Yukon’s public school system and curriculum, said Hanson, citing the goal of the First Nation Education Commission.
“I don’t see the outcome of the commission being separate school systems,” she said. “What we’ve failed to do as government, so far, is actually take seriously the tools that we have in the Yukon Education Act. If anybody actually goes back and reads how that was structured and how forward-thinking it was when it was passed – by a New Democratic government in ‘91 – it really did speak to the abilities and recognition of First Nations developing curriculum and other modes of delivery of programs that, if it had been implemented 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be dealing with the challenges we’re facing right now.”
There’s disparity between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students, said Hanson.
“Learning is a part of wanting to be in that environment,” she said, raising the negative legacy of residential schools.
If parents aren’t supporting the children, “it doesn’t matter what you throw at the kid, in terms of who’s delivering the program or who’s developing the curriculum,” she said.
Graduation rates shouldn’t be the primary way the education system is evaluated, she added, dismissing the annual Fraser Institute rankings.
A better test would be reviewing how literate the graduates are, or how prepared they are for business or post-secondary education, she said.
“How do we ready our kids for the world?” she asked. “We’re not talking about hundreds of thousands of students. How effective is education, measured in real ways? Our curriculum could be much more creative than it is now.”