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Federal government trying to save First Nations education bill

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It's pretty clear that graduation rates among First Nations students are significantly lower than other Canadian students, and that this is a big obstacle in their progress. This is why Canada's federal government is trying to save reformation plans for First Nations education. However, Aboriginal leaders from across the nation have been critical of the proposed changes.

In an open letter, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt is urging First Nations leaders to re-evaluate the education bill. He believes that the bill would give First Nations peoples more control of what goes on with the schooling system in their communities, CTV News reported on Friday.

"The government of Canada agrees that First Nations must have control over their education," Valcourt wrote in the letter, obtained by The Canadian Press. "The proposal that I put forth is intended to empower those who know best what their children need — First Nations, parents, communities and administrators — to determine what is most effective for their success."

The letter is a response to national chief Shawn Atleo's request last month that there be five conditions which the education bill must meet. Valcourt says that the bill already meets the five conditions, and on top of that, deals with issues that were brought up in a 2011 report by the federal auditor general, CBC News reports.

"First Nation control of the education of our children must be the overriding, paramount principle of all our work,'' Alteo told the Canadian Press.

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