The Gap Between Text and Context: An Analysis of Ontario's Indigenous Education Policy

Jesse Butler
This paper analyzes the 2007 Ontario First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework, alongside its 2014 Implementation Plan. Content analysis is used to determine what specific actions are prioritized in each document, first through a quantitative analysis of the various strategies put forth, then a qualitative analysis of what larger purpose these strategies might indicate. The findings suggest a significant shift in the 2014 document away from substantive action and toward data
more » ... and toward data management, specifically in regard to encouraging Indigenous student self-identification. Previous Ministry publications had called for the self-identification of Indigenous students as a necessary first step to developing targeted programming for these students. However, coming just two years before the 2016 target date for the original plan laid out in the Framework, it seems unlikely that this belated emphasis on self-identification in the Implementation Plan is for the originally stated purpose of establishing baseline data to implement and evaluate specific programs. Instead, it is suggested that the new self-identification data may be used as a type of symbolic policy, to obscure the absence of substantive change. Conversely, it is suggested that the Ministry of Education should establish a new baseline of self-identified Indigenous students and a renewed strategy, beginning in 2016, to implement specific, targeted programming for these students.