Low graduation rates for Indigenous students in Edmonton public high schools

Recent education reports from Alberta Education reportedly show that Indigenous students in Edmonton continue to have a lower high school graduation rate than their non-Indigenous peers. Recent education reports show that only 67% of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students in Edmonton Catholic Schools and 47% of those in the Edmonton Public School Board completed high school in three years, while the school boards’ overall averages are over 80%. CBC highlights some of the initiatives that have been launched in the school division that are seeing success, such as the Braided Journeys program and the high school completion coach pilot that recently expanded to three schools. “For Indigenous students, systemic discrimination is at the root of non-completion and low academic performance,” said Concordia University of Edmonton Assistant Professor Christine Martineau, who is Cree and Métis. Martineau noted that there are no simple solutions to the problem, but encouraged the creation of more immersion and bilingual programs for Indigenous languages, hiring more Indigenous teachers and leaders to bring role models into the school, and continuing individual support programs like the Braided Journeys programs, while additionally exploring high-level opportunities for systemic change.