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.
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.