Wednesday 03rd September 2014,
BAMN

Students Remobilize to Save Catherine Ferguson Academy


Brianna with baby and Save CFA poster

Save Catherine Ferguson Academy!

The Students of CFA Demand the Quality Education We Deserve!

This is a call to all CFA students, teachers, parents, alumni, former teachers and supporters everywhere. We need to stand up together to defend our beloved school once again. While there hasn’t been any announcement of CFA closing, it has ceased to exist as the CFA we fought to save, and will surely close soon unless we fight back now.

When CFA was kept open as a charter as part of Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy, run by for- profit Evans Solutions, Evans said they would be able to provide more funds and resources. But Evans has not invested a single bit in CFA. They haven’t supplied a single new textbook or piece of technology. Busses were provided briefly last year, but stopped soon after count day. Instead of providing what students need, Evans Solutions is spending our money on the Big Picture Learning Company.

This corporate reform model does not uphold the collective character of CFA or its philosophy that pregnant and parenting students should receive an education equal to every other high school student. Instead of going to classes, having discussions and learning from our teachers and each other, we stay in one room all day and work on projects individually, researching on computers and basically teaching ourselves.

Real Teaching, Classes and Credits Now!

We don’t interact with students in other classes so we don’t have the chance to meet new people and make new friends. Instead we barely know each other’s names. Teachers have actually been forbidden to teach classes! What is a school without classes and teaching? It’s like a library without any books or a restaurant without any food! Neither of these would last very long and neither will CFA if things don’t change soon. Things have gotten so bad, more than half the students who started the school year at CFA have been driven away.

Transportation Now!

As hard as it is for us to get to school with no school bus, with no classes and never knowing when or if we are going to receive credit, most students decided it’s not worth it anymore to catch two or three city busses to come to CFA. Those of us still attending understand why they left. We are also frustrated and angry about what has happened to CFA, but we have decided to stay and fight to save our school. We know that our lives, our futures, and the future of our children depend on it.

We did not fight to keep CFA open to have it slowly destroyed, and we are committed to taking action collectively to stop it from going down any further. We must win this fight or CFA will once again be facing closure. But, we also know that if we start having real classes, where we can really learn, we will be happy to come to school again, and when we tell our friends who have left, they will want to come back. Restoring the full curriculum and the true character of CFA is the only way to save it from being closed.

Public Accountability: Return CFA to DPS and Restore the full comprehensive curriculum!

The only way to do this is to bring CFA back under public control as part of the public school system. This charter company has no intention to provide us a real education. We need the same kind of community mobilization that kept CFA open to restore it now. CFA used to be a model school – a place where we were told that our lives are not over just because we became mothers at a young age and that we still have a future full of possibilities – where we got the education and support we needed to make those possibilities realities.

At CFA, students were prepared for college and got the help they needed to apply, get accepted, and to secure financial aid and scholarships needed to attend. None of that is happening anymore. Not only is there no more college counselor, there isn’t even a regular school counselor or even any classes! This is not preparing us for college. This is a at best a failed educational experiment, and at worst a deliberate attack to destroy CFA.

Either way, we are not accepting it. We are not guinea pigs for anyone to experiment with, and we refuse to succumb to the cynical, sexist, racist, attack that is destroying our school.

Join BAMN and mobilize the community support we need to save CFA

When CFA students joined BAMN and organized the occupation to stop our school from closing, we knew it wasn’t the end of the struggle, but just the beginning of our fight to truly take charge in determining the character of our own education. Starting with a handful of committed students and one teacher, we successfully mobilized hundreds of Detroiters and gained supporters from around the state and the whole country to keep CFA open. A new phase of that struggle has come and it’s time to step up and fight stronger. We need the same outpouring of community support that kept CFA open to overcome the latest attack. Now, as then, we intend to win.

We demand:

Return CFA to DPS and Restore the full traditional curriculum –We need the protection of public oversight to save CFA.

We need classes in all core content and electives including the arts, and foreign language and extracurricular and senior activities. CFA students need and deserve an education equal to every other high school student. This must include classes with discussion that allow us to develop the knowledge and critical thinking to prepare us for college and our future. Credits must be officially awarded on transcripts for last semester and all future semesters. Bring back externships for seniors, guidance counselor and college counselor, Life Skills classes, Mom and Baby program and prenatal meetings for pregnant student to give us skills to be the best mothers we can be.

Provide transportation NOW

It has become extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, and unsafe for students with their babies to take the bus to CFA from many parts of the city because of DDOT cutbacks. This has hurt attendance and made some people leave CFA. We need school busses to provide safe transportation. Use the recently received grant money for transportation.

Serious Outreach and retention plans

Reach out to bring back all the students we’ve lost and make sure every pregnant and parenting young woman in the Detroit area knows about CFA and has the opportunity to enroll.
Students must determine the character of CFA– students must lead in making all important decision about our education.
NO punishment or retaliation – against any students or staff who take action to improve our school.

 

Sign the Petition HERE!

 

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About The Author

BAMN is a mass, democratic, integrated, national organization dedicated to building a new mass civil rights movement to defend affirmative action,integration, and the other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and to advance the struggle for equality in American society by any means necessary.

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