Unfortunately more people aren’t talking about this…

Recently, students and teachers at the Catherine Ferguson Academy, a Detroit-area school for pregnant girls and young mothers, got the unfortunate news that it will possibly face closure at the end of the school year.

The school is one of the only of its kind in the country, winning awards for its staff’s refusal to give up on its students. Over 90% of the young mothers who attend Ferguson graduate, well over the national average of about 70%. Moreover, Ferguson Academy provides special support services like childcare, counseling, and financial aid guidance for its students. The school also received wide acclaim for its student-created urban garden that teaches each girl how to grow food and raise animals in an urban landscape.

The plight of the Detroit public schools has been well publicized. Earlier this year, state officials decided to close nearly half of the city’s schools to deal with a budget gap, and unfortunately, Catherine Ferguson Academy made the list.

Understandably, the students and teachers did not take the news very well. Many of the students were dismayed that their beloved school would be closing. They wondered, how they’ll continue to attend school when they also need childcare to do so.

One student, Ashley Matthews, discussed the importance of keeping her school open.

“The girls bring their kids to school because we don’t have anyone else to watch them,” Matthews told the Voice of Detroit. “What else are we going to do? Ninety percent of our students graduate, and most of them go on to two and four year colleges. Our principal tells us ‘smart mothers make smart children.’”

Because of dedication of the students and teachers, many of them decided to give up their Spring break to protest the possible closure of the school. The girls hoped to occupy a room in the school for the week, but their protests were cut short when they were arrested.

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In a day and age in which we are attempting to encourage more kids to stay in school, closing a successful school that serves young women trying to achieve success in spite of becoming mothers at a young age seems preposterous. We should be praising these girls for their successes, not closing the door to their future.

 

*Want to help keep Ferguson Academy Open? Check out the Keep Catherine Ferguson Academy Open Facebook Account

  • Clnmike

    See this right here is the complete lack of foresight and out of box thinking by our so called leaders. Here you have a school that addresses a unique concern in the community, and the response is to shut it down over budget concerns. Never mind that you will be paying more in the long run to support unwed teenage mothers who don’t even have a diploma. Adding to the cycle of community woes these girls and their children will face. Bet money that the money they are saving won’t into sex education.

  • binks

    This story got me emotional that is so sad. Is there anything we can do, write a letter, email or something? Because it makes no sense to shut them down, like mention they aren’t failing and above average but if these girls was in a regular school I doubt they would get the attention and special assistance they need hence why a lot don’t finish their education…smh.

    • http://www.clutchmagazine.com Clutch

      Hi Binks (and all those wanting to help),

      I did a search and the school has a FB account and list contact info to write letters to city/state officials to help keep it open.

      Check it: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=110485375664495&v=info

      Share this information with all CFA supporters.

      Stay tuned for announcements of town hall meetings.

      Write a letter of support. Send it to us at
      CFA, 2750 Selden Detroit MI 48208,

      Office of Emergency Financial Manager (Robert Bobb)
      14th Floor, Fisher Building 3011 West Grand Blvd.
      Detroit, MI 48202

      and
      Detroit Board of Education at 7322 Second Avenue,
      Suite 485
      Detroit, Michigan 48202-2711.

    • binks

      Thanks Clutch!

    • Lavish

      Thanks for that info Clutch.

  • Jas

    There’s a docu called ‘The One Percent’, its not a good flick but in it, one guy explains the three steps to driving out the poor to make room for richer, whiter taxpayers -“First, you close the police stations, then you tear out the basketball courts and, finally, you close down the schools”

    In three years, this town will flourish with more white people and less brown and black folks. This community and school have been targetted, not because of budget concerns but because they are in an area that is desired by richer, whiter taxpayers who like the area but not the current residents.

    • http://thatgirlsnl.blogspot.com/ Simone

      That was a good doc. This….ugh. I was able to graduate high school because of a school like this. I didn’t have any children, but I was 9 months pregnant as a senior. I needed 4 credits to graduate. This is definitely part of the plan to take away viable options from teen moms. The school I went to closed that June that I finished. I…I cant find the words but I will make sure to spread the word. Although teen pregnancy should be prevented, its after the fact and lets get these girls to succeed.

  • Alivia

    This is sad and I will do what I can to help. I have already joined the facebook page. I pray that this school remains open. Our young mothers need good schools like this!

  • Pingback: School for Teen Mothers, “Jewel of Detroit,” Closes : Ms Magazine Blog()

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