Defend Public Education

Catherine Ferguson Academy Defense Campaign

For over 20 years, pregnant and parenting young women living in and around Detroit have gotten the support they need to complete high school and prepare for higher education. At the Catherine Ferguson Academy, small classes provide a supportive learning environment, and a modified schedule and dual enrollment night school allow students to recover credits and get a head start on college. CFA provides services like WIC, healthcare for moms and babies, and early education from birth through pre-K. Without this support, most high school aged mothers do not graduate.  All CFA graduates are accepted to community college or university and secured with financial aid. Rob Bobb has named CFA as one of eighteen schools to become charters or close. We refuse to be shut down.

We have seen the harmful effects of privatization at our school already. When a private company took over food service, they destroyed plans to serve real, wholesome food and even sold our kitchen equipment and refuse d to let us use the kitchen to prepare food grown in our school garden. Now we are served inadequate portions of highly processed food that is sometimes undercooked or spoiled. Teachers who provide food for students have been told to stop and even reprimanded. We will not let our school be handed over to a charter operator who will degrade our education the way they have degraded our food, or try to shut down our program so they can use our building for a for-profit school.

Student leadership was the driving force that created CFA. At first a transition program that students were forced out of after giving birth, it was expanded to a full high school after students returned and insisted that they be allowed to stay and receive childcare. Students named the school Catherine Ferguson after a freed slave who founded a “Sabbath School”  where freed black slaves and other working poor learned to read and write, cared for orphaned children,  and provided childcare allowing women to work and gain independence.  Now it is up to the students once again to lead the fight to keep CFA open and to determine the character and quality of our own education. We will not accept a return to the days when becoming pregnant and raising a child meant being forced to quit school, or our lives being limited by sexism, racism, cynicism and betrayals of politicians. To quote Dr. King, we must act “with the fierce urgency of now”.

With support from hundreds of Detroiters, students at the Catherine Ferguson Academy occupied their school for several hours after school on Friday April 15. Their peaceful sit-in was in protest of the proposed closure or charter school conversion of their school along with dozens of other Detroit Public Schools.  8 students and 5 supporters , including 1 teacher were arrested, and manhandled by police for standing up for their rights by sitting down in their school.

Support these students in their efforts to defend their school and equal, quality public education for all the young people of Detroit and the nation.

Read more about the Sit-In and Sign our petition

Contribute to our legal defense fund and organizing campaign to build a mass movement to defend public education

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