I am writing in response to the Roy Tom letter regarding the Big Grassy Education Authority and Administration (BGREA). After reading the letter in the Fort Frances Times on June 5, I felt it was necessary.
Roy Tom’s letter brought up some very important issues. I am absolutely positive that his intentions were honest and for the genuine concern for the entire Big Grassy people.
I totally agree with his stand on qualifications. We must strive for the best possible “qualified” people to teach the people of Big Grassy. As far as I know, all staff that are working for the BGREA are all trained and qualified.
I think teacher’s aides in Rainy River High School are a good and positive thing. If Big Grassy can afford tutors for the students, the more power to us.
The letter in that paper, I felt, embarrassed our Grade 9 students. If I were a Grade 9 student, and I saw this letter in the paper, I would feel that I was called dumb or stupid, singled out, being put down, and my self-esteem and ego would be slightly damaged knowing what people perceive from the letter.
I think that part of the letter was quite damaging for the Grade 9 students, not to mention the RRHS tutors. I hope they recover quickly from this public flogging and humiliation.
Another thing, “if” there is a problem with Big Grassy needing teacher’s aides, or tutors, it is not the fault of the present administration nor the present Education Authority. It had to have been happening at a slow steady pace from earlier years.
We should be looking at the bigger picture. Not enough funding, lower per-student funding verses the public school system, the fact that, we are alongside, yet, isolated from the public school system and curriculum.
Switching from the public school system to band-controlled system was good for the band, but it slowed our education system down because of lower funding rates that took its toll over the years.
Our band council should be fighting for the BGREA for better funding arrangements with Indian Affairs and join other First Nation education systems in combatting a common financial problem?
Channeling helpful and positive energy in a good way is best.
Big Grassy member