Defend Public Education

All out to Catherine Ferguson Academy June 16

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on June 8, 2011

Unite in Action with The Catherine Ferguson Academy for Young Women (CFA)!

RALLY STARTING AT 12 NOON

2750 Selden Street, two blocks north of MLK/Mack, one block east of I-96

 

Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA) is a Detroit Public School. CFA is a JEWELL of DETROIT and it is about to be stolen from our community- we must defend it and defend ourselves.  CFA students are standing on their feet fighting to defend public education, fighting to stop the destruction of programs in all of our schools through class size increases and elimination of our teachers, and against the closing of all of the public schools on the closing list. CFA is on the list to be closed. It is a school for pregnant and parenting teenage girls. At CFA, our sisters, cousins and friends, are not treated as outcasts, but are cared for and treated as fellow persons with value.  CFA is a regular comprehensive high school, where the students can bring their children.  There is early childhood development and pre-school, and nurseries.  There are doctors, nurses and others who come to the school to provide services for the students and their children to make sure that they are all successful.  There is also a wonderful farm with goats, ducks, chickens, honeybees, fruit trees, vegetables and even a horse.  In a society where being a teenage mother enslaves most to a life of poverty and limited opportunity, CFA is like the first “safe house” stop on the underground railroad to freedom, a place of new beginning and hope for young women who have been told by so many that their own lives are over.

 

We can save all of our schools and programs by uniting in action at CFA to make it clear that the new “Jim Crow”, second class treatment of black and Latina/o and other minority students has no place in our city.  On April 15, 2011, the brave students of CFA led Detroit and shook up the nation by sitting down and refusing to leave the school over spring break.  This action resulted in numerous schools coming off of the closing list.  However, CFA is still on the closing list and is being used as a “political football” between the Democrats and the Republicans, both of whom could keep the school open, but neither will without a fight led by the students to make them keep it open.  Next time at CFA, if hundreds, not just dozens of people are gathered outside to defend the school, we will save CFA and win more of our demands. Just like the auto workers forced the powerful auto companies to recognize their union in the 1930’s through sit-down strikes, and black high school and college students in the South broke the back of segregation by sitting down at lunch counters, and the hundreds of Northwestern High School students in Detroit kept their school open by walking out together and marching out last year, we must recognize, just as Dr. Martin Luther King did, that if young people act on “the fierce urgency of now,” we can move mountains.

 

In addition to closing CFA and numerous other schools, class sizes in all DPS high schools are being threatened to increase to forty-five (45) students per class starting in fall of 2012.  Schools that offer a college prep curriculum will no longer be able to effectively do so in reality.  And neighborhood schools will lose electives all together, as well as many extracurricular activities.  We must organize a massive mobilization to save CFA and preserve the quality of all DPS schools. Anyone and everyone can and should come – people of all ages, schools, cities, etc., but the students have to lead!

 

At this point, we have so much power at CFA because of the first set of actions. Students at Southeastern walked out three times and won the right to sing at the MSVMA choral festival, and led a successful campaign to defend the rights of a transgendered classmate. If more students and youth in Detroit stand up and fight, we will win much more. If all the community stands in support with them, we can win our demans. Join the movement and fight for our dignity, equality and hope for our future.

We are fighting for the following Demands:

  • Defend Public Education
  • Keep Catherine Ferguson Open
  • No School Closings
  • Keep All Detroit Public Schools Public – No More Charters or Privatization
  • Reinstate all programs and services that have been eliminated, including art & music as well as counselors & social workers, AP classes, robotics, and other special programs at all schools
  • Student Control of Curriculum and School Character to assure that every Detroit school provides equal, quality education for all
  • No discipline or retaliation against any of the participants in the occupation or any other collective actions taken to defend public education

The enemies of public education know that their plan is not about balancing the district’s budget. They are fully aware that their statistics are wrong and fabricated and that this plan will make the district lose money.  For example, they say CFA costs the District $2.7 million* when it really only costs $750,000 and the rest comes from special federal and state funding, not the DPS general fund. The racist, white billionaires, who do not want to pay for public education anymore, believe that the people of Detroit do not have value and want to fulfill that prophecy through force. This is about implementing the New Jim Crow and forcing people to defer their dreams by blocking any opportunity for them to lead and shine.  It is their intention to destroy public education, and get away with it with only minimal objections from the community, without any serious consequences, without Detroiters organizing and raising total HELL to stop the destruction of our schools and our neighborhoods.

Roy Roberts and other pessimistic politicians, whom of which are backed by a tiny minority of billionaires, ARE NOT OUR “FRIENDS”.  They are overseers hired to implement and enforce the New Jim Crow system of education on black and Latino/a students – separate and completely unequal once again.  This means that special Detroit schools such as CFA, Renaissance and Cass and creative and loved programs in neighborhood schools like music and robotic programs, will all be in the past and no longer exist for black and Latino/a students in Detroit.  Then, wealthy white people can say to working class and poor white people, “you may have a poor education system that we refuse to pay for, but at least you are not black or Latino/a.”  They are closing schools and firing teachers to drive students out of the district and gentrify the city by race and class. A few middle-class students will go to private schools or leave the city, and the rest will be warehoused in inferior, overcrowded schools. Whether or not our schools stay open or teachers keep their jobs depends on whether we can overcome our fears and express our anger in a collective manner, and put our foot down and declare that Detroit students, our schools, our programs, our neighborhoods and our city are not for sale.  

 

 We can end the regime of overcrowded classrooms, police in the schools doling out repression and brutality, and turning what should be places of learning, where we can express and develop our full creativity and humanity, into cheap, stripped-down, prison-like holding cells. We want and deserve the full range of subjects and extracurriculars – art, music, dance, theatre, sports, AP and foreign language courses, chess, etc. – that a first-class comprehensive public education has to offer.  To the extent that any school becomes a charter, if they do not meet the full standards of the students and parents, they must lose their charter immediately!

 

We CAN defeat this plan, but only by getting off our knees and fighting back. It’s time to heed the words of Frederick Douglass, one of the greatest leaders in the history of our nation, who said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

 

Take action and organize your school– Join BAMN (The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, BAMN) at 855-ASK-BAMN  (855-275-2266), or email BAMN Coordinator Donna Stern at donna.stern@ueaa.net  www.bamn.com

Follow us on twitter: @followBAMN

 *The Detroit News, 05/27/2011                         

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PETITION FOR A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE FUTURE OF CATHERINE FERGUSON ACADEMY (CFA)

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on June 2, 2011

On May 26, Detroit Public Schools Emergency manager Roy Roberts announced changes to the district’s school consolidation and closure plan.  Claiming it was in response to “broad community input” the modifications are ostensibly to “cut operating costs and align resources to maximize services to students.”  The plan euphemizes that Catherine Ferguson is one of the buildings  “coming off line”. Roberts also claims  to be “developing a transition plan for continuing the services” of  CFA and two other alternative high schools to “focus on remediation and return to traditional schools.” The other two schools, Hancock and Barsamian, serve students who have been expelled from other schools, usually for violent offenses. The objectives of those programs are completely different and it is completely inappropriate to put CFA in the same category. Students choose to attend CFA because they are committed to their education and to providing a better life for their children, and require the support services CFA provides in order to to so.

 The truth is that Roberts and his backers don’t have any real plan to continue the service CFA provides. They are trying to ride things out until the end of the school year when they think they will be safe from a public outcry. To date there has been no public meeting to regarding the future of the Catherine Ferguson Academy.  No one from the Emergency Manager’s office have even visited the school or met with school administration, staff, or students. No accurate information has been shared about the actual cost of operating CFA, the supposed reasons for closing the school, or any plan to continue services CFA provides. We must insist that our voices be heard and the truth be told. 

PETITION_FOR_A_PUBLIC_HEARING_ON_THE_FUTURE_OF_CATHERINE_FERGUSON_ACADEMY[1] (Click to download and circulate the print version)

CFA is a nationally renowned, successful high school that has provided a quality education for pregnant and parenting teen girls for twenty years. CFA offers;

  • small classes to provide a supportive learning environment
  • a modified schedule and dual enrollment night school to allow students to recover credits and get a head start on college
  • Support services like WIC, healthcare for moms and babies, and early education from birth through pre-K.
  • An organic farm and orchard that provide a unique outdoor learning  opportunityCFA is more than the sum of its programs; it is a lifeline for growth, development and a better future for the young women and their children.

Pregnancy is the number one reason girls drop out of school.  Approximately 70% of teenage girls who give birth leave school  (ACLU.org).  All CFA graduates are accepted to community college or university and secured with financial aid.

In a recent press statement, the new EM, Roy Roberts, lumped CFA in with remedial programs at Barsamian and Hancock, but CFA is not a remedial program. Being pregnant is not a crime, and pregnant girls should be supported, not punished and degraded.

“Transition” back to a regular high school with no infant care and pre-school, no credit recovery program, no parenting classes, no support for the young mothers to continue their education and enhance the education of their children, will force these young women out of school. The community supports CFA, and deserves the transparency and accountability that its public school system should provide.

Therefore:

We the undersigned, call on EM Roy Roberts to attend a public hearing on the future of CFA, at a time and place convenient to the community, to hear from the CFA students, teachers and community about the importance of maintaining CFA as it currently exists, and to answer questions about the actual costs to DPS, how much is covered by federal funds, and the costs to the students, their children and the community if CFA is closed.

A Letter to Arne Duncan

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on May 12, 2011

Hats off to Sabrina of  failingschools.wordpress.com for her May 2 post: A Letter to Arne Duncan.

Sabrina points out Duncans lack of qualification as an educator and his complicity in the educational “deforms” aimed at privatization and profit for billionaires.

My only disagreement – Sabrina asks Duncan when teachers will recieve his apology letter for the disrespect he has shown us. I don’t want an apology letter from him. I want a resignation letter!

Media Coverage of Catherine Ferguson Occupation

Posted in Catherine Ferguson articles by Nicole Conaway on May 4, 2011

Rachel Maddow Show http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/04/23/6517421-more-about-the-catherine-ferguson-academy

Young Mother Describes Occupation of Catherine Ferguson Academy
13 arrested in heroic action, but vow that fight continues
Diane Bukowski, VoiceOfDetroit.net
http://markmaynard.com/?p=13284

Andrew Bradley posted a YouTube playlist of the sit-in

Rick Smith radio interview with Ferguson teacher Nicole Conaway and student Tiffini

The South End (Wayne State student paper)http://thesouthend.wayne.edu/index.php/article/2011/04/ferguson_academy#comment828

Students, faculty take over Detroit school in protest
April 15, 2011
By W. Kim Heron | metrotimesblogs
(Posted by Heron, written by Simone Landon)
http://blogs.metrotimes.com/index.php/2011/04/students-faculty-take-over-detroit-school-in-protest/?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4da8d742c4883bac%2C0

Sit-In At Ferguson Leads To Arrests
April 15, 2011 9:58 PM
CBS Detroit (WWJ)
http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/04/15/sit-in-at-high-school-leads-to-arrests/

Today Detroit – Tomorrow, Every City in America April 26, 2011
Rania Khalek, CommonDreams.org
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/04/26-3

CFA students, teacher arrested
By Marcus Wright – The Michigan Citizen
http://michigancitizen.com/cfa-students-teacher-arrested-p9740-1.htm

OCCUPATION AT DPS CATHERINE FERGUSON HIGH SCHOOL!

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on May 3, 2011

Hundreds of Detroiters supported students of the Catherine Ferguson Academy’s peaceful sit-in protest to defend their school. They brought food, supplies, made t-shirts, rallied and chanted outside, and held of the police for several hours. Students read their demands (listed in the press release below) and gave inspiring speeches to the crowd via loudspeaker from inside. (Of course local media showed n

OCCUPATION AT CATHERINE FERGUSON HIGH SCHOOL!

STUDENTS AND SUPPORTERS SIT-IN TO DEMAND THAT NODETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOL CLOSES

Following in the civil rights tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, Catherine Ferguson students — along with their babies and toddlers, teachers and supporters — have begun a peaceful occupation of Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA). CFA, located at 2750 Selden, is a Detroit Public school that is slated to be closed in June. The students who are sitting down have five demands:

  • No School Closings
  • Keep All Detroit Schools Public – No More Charters or Privatization
  • Reinstate all programs and services that have been eliminated, including art & music as  well as counselors & social workers
  • Student Control of Curriculum and School Character to assure that every Detroit school provides equal, quality education for all
  • No discipline or retaliation against any of the participants in the occupation

Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA) is a Detroit public high school for pregnant and parenting teen girls– the only one of its kind in the nation. Providing an excellent education and services for both the teen mothers and their children, CFA has received international attention, numerous awards and is the subject of several documentaries.

“When people at my regular high school realized that I was pregnant, I was told my chances of being a success in life were over. At Catherine Ferguson, they told me they wouldn’t allow me to be anything BUT a success. I love CFA, and I am prepared to fight to keep it open, not only for myself, but for all the girls who will come behind me,” said Ashley Matthews, a junior at CFA.

With approximately 200 students who come not only from Detroit, but also from the surrounding suburbs, every year Catherine Ferguson achieves a 90% graduation rate and 100% of those who graduate are accepted to two- or four-year colleges, most with financial aid.

“If this school closes, or if any of our services are eliminated, I believe that over half of CFA students will drop out of high school because they don’t have anyone to watch their baby while they attend classes,” said Dalana Gray, who is a senior at CFA. Also, this school benefits our children, because the early education program teaches them a lot that they wouldn’t learn if they were kept at home.”

The school provides pre-natal and parenting classes, and offers high school student mothers the opportunity to finish their high school education immediately after giving birth by providing on-site daycare, early childhood development services, and pre-school for their children, as well as on-site medical, dental and social services, so the young women don’t have to miss school to attend appointments. What also makes CFA unique is its organic garden and farm with chickens, goats and a horse, which the students maintain as part of their science education.

Nicole Conaway, a science teacher at CFA who decided to join her students in the occupation said, “As a teacher, I can find another job, but for my students, if Catherine Ferguson closes, there are no alternatives. The same can be said for many of the students at other schools on the closing list – the Day School for the Deaf; Rutherford, which is the home of two autistic programs; Moses Fields, which educates many learning disabled children, and several neighborhood schools that are the anchors for their communities. It’s time to say: no more. ”

”The massive school closures that have been carried out in DPS since 2004 have led to the depopulation of Detroit and to the deepening financial crisis of the district. Public schools are being closed to make way for charters and are part of the national attack on public education. Today Detroit– tomorrow, every city in America. The parents and students of Catherine Ferguson are fighting to maintain the right of every student in our nation to a free, quality public education. Every supporter of public education should do everything possible to support their fight and make sure they succeed”, said Shanta Driver, National Chairperson of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), which is helping to organize and coordinate the occupations.

For more information, call Monica Smith at 313-585-3637 or call 855-ASK-BAMN

Petition to defend the Catherine Ferguson Academy and all DPS schools and programs

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on April 16, 2011

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. The occupiers secured themselves in the library and read their demands and gave inspiring speeches via loudspeaker to a roaring crowd outside who continued chanting even over police sirens. 8 students and 5 supporters were brutally arrested.  Please read and sign our petition to support not only CFA, but all DPS schools.

“Educate a woman, you educate a nation.”

-Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka former Deputy President of South Africa

 The Catherine Ferguson Academy is OUR SCHOOL! We Will NOT be Shut Down!

 

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”.

We the undersigned demand that:

  1.  The Catherine Ferguson Academy must remain open for current students and all women in the Detroit area who are pregnant or parenting to complete high school and prepare for higher education.
  2. CFA exist for the well-being and healthy development of the students. High-quality education and support services must be maintained. Access to better food with proper nutrition for pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, and growing children must be provided.
  3. We stand united in the defense of public education as a fundamental right and we will not accept the closing or selling-off of any Detroit Public School to private companies who put their profits above the needs of students. We will boycott any charter school that displaces current students or shuts down current schools and programs.

Endorsed by: CFA Student Leaders, Defend Public Education/Save Our Students Caucus of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality Bay Any Means Necessary (BAMN)                      bamn.com             313-585-3637

Detroit Students Occupy Catherine Ferguson Academy High School

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on April 16, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeEo-AgOYAk

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.  Throughout the day, supporters brought food, water, sleeping bags, art supplies, baby items, and words of encouragement, and rallied outside the school.

Students and supporters created posters and discussed their reasons for the protest with each other and media, posted videos and tweeted to gather more support, and made plans to stay in the school as long as possible. When agents of the Emergency Manager Rob Bobb appeared and gave the first warning to leave, the occupiers secured themselves in the library and read their demands (listed in press release below) and gave inspiring speeches via loudspeaker to a roaring crowd outside who continued chanting even over police sirens.

Just a few police cars arrived at first, including a K-9 unit. Supporters blocked them for a while. When they did eventually get in, they gave a warning to all inside to leave or be arrested. As the group circled together and decided to sit down, police announced everyone was under arrest. The first person taken into custody was a professional film-maker who had recorded footage of the entire day. Her camera and film were confiscated by DPS police. Police threatened to turn two  young children who were with their mothers over to child protective services. (The children were released outside to the school principal and home with their mothers within hours.)

The occupiers sat down as police put the cuffs on. Police brutally dragged and choked several protesters, using excessive force on Ashley, a very petite student, choking and slamming her against the police car. A supporter picketing outside was also slammed down onto a car and arrested.  All protesters were ticketed for being unauthorized persons on school property and released.

I’ve never felt such solidarity as I did riding to the police station with two students chanting for the entire ride, “Public Education is a right! By any means necessary, we will fight!” and hearing over the police radio that 60 of our supporters were on their way to meet us at the station, then walking out and seeing the crowd and being surrounded by students in a great group hug.  It was especially encouraging to see how integrated the crowd was. As the chant goes “Black, Latino, Asian and white, for public education we will fight!” One supporter told me, “this is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re ready now.”

As their teacher, I am humbled by the courage and determination of the students, and encouraged by the outpouring of community support.  Several people have said things like “those girls are lucky to have you” and “they learn so much from you”, but the truth is they were leading me all along and I am lucky to know them.

All supporters are asked to sign our petition, committing themselves to support actions to public education and boycott any charter school that attempts to take our schools and displace our students.

OCCUPATION AT CATHERINE FERGUSON HIGH SCHOOL!

STUDENTS AND SUPPORTERS SIT-IN TO DEMAND THAT NO DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOL CLOSES

Following in the civil rights tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, Catherine Ferguson students — along with their babies and toddlers, teachers and supporters — have begun a peaceful occupation of Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA). CFA, located at 2750 Selden, is a Detroit Public school that is slated to be closed in June. The students who are sitting down have five demands:

  • No School Closings
  • Keep All Detroit Schools Public – No More Charters or Privatization
  • Reinstate all programs and services that have been eliminated, including art & music as  well as counselors & social workers
  • Student Control of Curriculum and School Character to assure that every Detroit school provides equal, quality education for all
  • No discipline or retaliation against any of the participants in the occupation

Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA) is a Detroit public high school for pregnant and parenting teen girls– the only one of its kind in the nation. Providing an excellent education and services for both the teen mothers and their children, CFA has received international attention, numerous awards and is the subject of several documentaries.

“When people at my regular high school realized that I was pregnant, I was told my chances of being a success in life were over. At Catherine Ferguson, they told me they wouldn’t allow me to be anything BUT a success. I love CFA, and I am prepared to fight to keep it open, not only for myself, but for all the girls who will come behind me,” said Ashley Matthews, a junior at CFA.

With approximately 200 students who come not only from Detroit, but also from the surrounding suburbs, every year Catherine Ferguson achieves a 90% graduation rate and 100% of those who graduate are accepted to two- or four-year colleges, most with financial aid.

“If this school closes, or if any of our services are eliminated, I believe that over half of CFA students will drop out of high school because they don’t have anyone to watch their baby while they attend classes,” said Dalana Gray, who is a senior at CFA. Also, this school benefits our children, because the early education program teaches them a lot that they wouldn’t learn if they were kept at home.”

The school provides pre-natal and parenting classes, and offers high school student mothers the opportunity to finish their high school education immediately after giving birth by providing on-site daycare, early childhood development services, and pre-school for their children, as well as on-site medical, dental and social services, so the young women don’t have to miss school to attend appointments. What also makes CFA unique is its organic garden and farm with chickens, goats and a horse, which the students maintain as part of their science education.

Nicole Conaway, a science teacher at CFA who decided to join her students in the occupation said, “As a teacher, I can find another job, but for my students, if Catherine Ferguson closes, there are no alternatives. The same can be said for many of the students at other schools on the closing list – the Day School for the Deaf; Rutherford, which is the home of two autistic programs; Moses Field, which educates many learning disabled children, and several neighborhood schools that are the anchors for their communities. It’s time to say: no more. ”

”The massive school closures that have been carried out in DPS since 2004 have led to the depopulation of Detroit and to the deepening financial crisis of the district. Public schools are being closed to make way for charters and are part of the national attack on public education. Today Detroit– tomorrow, every city in America. The parents and students of Catherine Ferguson are fighting to maintain the right of every student in our nation to a free, quality public education. Every supporter of public education should do everything possible to support their fight and make sure they succeed”, said Shanta Driver, National Chairperson of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), which is helping to organize and coordinate the occupations.

For more information, call Monica Smith at 313-585-3637 or call 855-ASK-BAMN


We Will NOT Accept our Dreams Deferred – Petition to Save Programs and DPS Schools

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on March 13, 2011

Detroit’s Southeastern High School students used this petition to build support and won their first demand! – to sing at the Michigan High School Vocal Music Association Choral Festival on March 10. After their choir teacher was transferred they were told they could not perform at this event, which they had worked toward all year. It was a hard-won victory that came only after several walkouts, speaking out before the school board and ultimately boldly demanding they be allowed to sing when event officials tried to stop them on the day of the festival, supposedly for not having completed a registration form.

Now with Bobb’s plan  to convert to charters or close 41 schools, we must follow the example set by the students of Southeastern and organize ourselves to stop this attack and demand all schools remain open as public schools open to all students!

We Will Not Accept Our Dreams Deferred
A Dream Deferred, By Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up– like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore– And then run?
Does itstink– like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags– like a heavy load.
OR DOES IT EXPLODE?
Music and the other arts programs in Detroit schools are facing massive cuts. We must not allow this to continue. We cannot imagine living in a world without music and art. We know that if we allow Rob Bobb, Governor Snyder or any of his appointees to eliminate music andart, then sports and other critical programs will follow. Vital academic programs are already being cut and there are threats of more school closings.
The chances of Detroit youth attending college are being greatly diminished; our right to learn and grow as full human beings, denied. We cannot and will not accept becoming the first of many generations of Detroit students to live under the new institutionalized Jim Crow. Our dreams must not be deferred. We must not accept our rights and opportunities beinglimited by the racism, cynicism and betrayals of the politicians. It is our time to fight and lead. To quote Dr. King, Detroit students and youth must act “with the fierce urgency of now”.
We the undersigned demand that:
1.      The Southeastern High School choir, which has prepared all year to compete in the MSVMA Choral Festival, must be allowed to compete allowed to participate in the festival.  Southeastern High School was being denied the right to compete in the festival because their music teacher was transferred to another school.  The students must not be punished for the unconscionable policies of Rob Bobb and Lansing.
2.      Every school in DPS including the Detroit School for the Arts (DSA) and other performing arts schools, have already lost music and art teachers, accompanists and other vital staff.  We demand that every teacher and support staff who  has been laid off or transferred to another school be immediately returned to  their home school.
3.      The youth of Detroit are the peers and equals of every other youth in this nation.  We refuse to be treated as second-class students, denied the right to realize
our full potential and develop our creativity. Detroit youth in public schools and charter schools deserve the right to attend comprehensive elementary and middle schools and high schools which offer a full complement of music, art,  language, AP, sports and other programs. We will accept no less.
4. We stand united against and will not accept the closing, charterization, or selling off of any DPS schools.

Add your Name to the Petition:

Download the Petition to Save Fine Arts Programs and DPS Schools, and circulate at your school among teachers and students, parents, at your churches and community groups.
Endorsed by: The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), www.BAMN.com letters@bamn.com 313-585-3637
Defend Public Education/Save Our Students (DPE/SOS) Caucus of the Detroit Federation of Teachers

Johnson tries to eliminate opposition with bogus charges, allows Bobb to continue destruction of DPS

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on January 31, 2011

DFT Members Demand New Election

Posted in Uncategorized by Nicole Conaway on January 23, 2011

Visit www.dftelectionfraud.com for the latest news on the DFT Election

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