Nel's New Day

May 18, 2011

Detroit Closes School for Pregnant Girls

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 9:54 PM

Let’s imagine that a school has a 90-percent graduation record and a 100-percent college acceptance rate. Pretty good, right? Well, that was one of the schools closed by dictator Gov. Rick Snyder’s “Emergency Financial Manager” Robert Bobb earlier this year. The legislature gave the governor  the right to remove any elected official and name an EFM replacement anywhere in the state.

Maybe Bobb thought the school wasn’t important because everyone who attended is female. The Catherine Ferguson Academy, unique in the nation, was designed for pregnant girls and their children. In addition to their class work, students worked on an urban “farm” with animals, gardens, and beehives. Proceeds from the farm provide school funding. The school serves up to 400 students and 200 babies.

Understandably upset, eight of the pregnant students with their children and some faculty members held a sit-in to protest the school’s closure after letter-writing and petition campaigns failed. What should be done with protesters who don’t want their school closed? The pregnant girls were handcuffed, put in squad cars, and taken to jail. They didn’t resist; they were just hauled off. The Detroit Police spokesman told them that instead of protesting, they should talk to Robert Bobb and show that their school needs to stay open. That doesn’t seem to have succeeded.

Ironically, the Catherine Ferguson Academy is named after a freed slave who, although illiterate, dedicated her life to educating others in the early 1800s. Almost two centuries ago, many people in the United States were determined to keep slaves from education. In the 21st century, corporate America wants to keep pregnant women from having the education they deserve.

The Catherine Ferguson Academy is not the only special Detroit school under attack. The Detroit Day School for the Deaf, opened in 1898, is also on Bobb’s chopping block. How will Bobb save money in administering Detroit’s schools? Lay off thousands of teachers and cut back salaries and benefits for those who work at charter schools. Help the economy by providing the wealthy and corporations with more money while teachers pay for all this money.

Robert Bobb makes a $145,000 salary from the Broad Foundation, which promotes school choice and privatization (read much smaller teacher salaries) plus his $280,000 government salary. After almost two years, he leaves Detroit to his successor this next month to return to hisWashington,D.C.home. He plans to write a book about his experiences being the Detroit schools EFM.

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