We need to make changes to the Constitution so it recognises Australia’s First Peoples and removes discrimination, Aboriginal Education Coordinator Charline Emzin-Boyd told delegates to Federation’s annual conference.
“If we don’t do this, we won’t close the gap.”
“You have the power,” she added.
Ms Emzin-Boyd spoke about “getting Aboriginal people to the table”, to get them engaged in education, the union’s campaigns and to be part of our schools, and have a voice.
She urged non-Aboriginal people within schools to engage in conversations with Aboriginal community members and Aboriginal students to get them engaged education and the union’s campaigns, and give them a voice.
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) school students is at a record high and the ATSI population growth in the 0-19 years bracket is greater than for non-Aboriginal people.
“That means for us, as educators, that we have work to do,” Ms Emzin-Boyd said.
She urged teachers to review what they can do for ATSI students at a class, stage or school level.
Ms Emzin-Boyd referred to the Aboriginal Education – 25 Year Approach: The Way Forward action plan kit, available on Federation’s website, which includes a “hands-on programming”.
“Please activate it. Ring me up if there’s anything in regards to it.”
Ms Emzin-Boyd also acknowledged the election of the first Aboriginal women to the House of Representatives, Linda Burney, at the polls on Saturday.