Despite promising to improve First Nations and Métis graduation rates, the Sask. Party is nowhere near hitting their target and, instead of working to turn things around, are cutting more workers and programs that would help support these students.
“Across the board in education, the Sask. Party’s answer has been deeper cuts and fewer supports in the classroom,” said NDP Education Critic Carla Beck. “Even in the face of the tragic and costly gap in graduation rates, the government has stuck with their backwards approach to education and is making students pay for Sask. Party mismanagement, scandal and waste.”
The on-time graduation rate across the province is 76 per cent but, for First Nation and Métis students, it is 42 per cent. The cuts to education are hitting students across the province and, with Sask. Party cuts resulting in a $9.7 million budget shortfall to the Saskatoon Catholic school division, 12 Aboriginal student retention workers have been eliminated. In the Regina Public school division, a $9.5 million shortfall has forced Indigenous advocates to be reassigned.
“The Minister of Education promised to raise First Nations and Métis graduation rates in Saskatchewan but turned around and forced these cuts on school divisions,” Beck said. “If the Sask. Party actually wants to keep their promise and improve the graduation rates, they need to stop these cuts and invest in these supports that are desperately needed in our classrooms.”