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

  • African Mami

    Sigh! Instead of Trump asking for birth certificates and what not, since he wants to be the President of the United States of America, why doesn’t he address this issue?! His mouth is big enough to warrant Obama to produce his BC, he can use his mouth to find funding for this school!

  • sunshyne84

    I just wanna throw up.

  • Tiffany W.

    So, we’re closing down schools that actually work. Oh ok, that makes sense.

    ….

    Tell me this, what does downsizing a school system even mean? Huh? I mean, I tried to take my brain there, but it just refused to go to that level of stupidity. And who is this “financial manager?” I question the constitutionality of this enigmatic figure….does this guy even have a name? Is his name literally Financial Manager? He should be kicked in the teeth.

  • http://iamyourpeople.com/ I Am Your People

    I actually cried watching this. Cuffing pregnant teenagers? Is this even America?

  • I got sense!

    Perfect. Absolutely perfect!

  • http://www.adivastateofmind.com A Diva State of Mind

    In a society where so many schools are failing, our country decides to close schools that actually work and support teenagers who are trying to create a future for themselves?! This doesn’t make sense at all. SMDH

  • 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!

  • MP

    Downsizing a school system makes sense when there’s been a significant decrease in population as there has been in the city of Detroit. It was necessary to get an emergency manager in there because the school board was apparently a mess. This guy has been closing schools for a couple of years now. HOWEVER, I question his qualifications and motives because this is not the first well-performing Detroit school that’s been on the chopping block. It’s quite illogical when they’re floating in a sea of under-performing schools in the district to focus on. A news article recently exposed how he’s in league with some sort of corporate charter school company.

    Just for the record, I’m so sad that they are arresting students for fighting for their education. It takes my mind right back to the days when my forebears had to sneak around to educate themselves. It’s so disappointing that failing schools and delinquent students will be top stories all day elsewhere but this story won’t.

  • 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.

  • Lavish

    Thanks for that info Clutch.

  • 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.

  • http://fattiesoslim.tumblr.com FattieSoSlim

    His name is ROBERT BOBB

    Never trust a man with two first names….

  • 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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