After an order by Detroit Public Schools’ Emergency Manager, the Catherine Ferguson Academy will permanently close June 17. Catherine Ferguson Academy (CFA), established in 1986 and one of only three like it in the country, is a high school for pregnant teens and young mothers. CFA provides early education and day care, the young women maintain a farm on school grounds, receive parenting classes as well as support to graduate and continue with higher education.
In April Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager, Roy Roberts, called for closure of the school, along with 17 others, during the summer of 2011 unless an acceptable proposal was made to convert it to a charter school. On Friday, April 15, several students were arrested while peacefully occupying the school after hours in protest. This week it was announced by the Emergency Manager that CFA would close this month.
CFA boasts a 90% graduation rate with all graduates continuing on to college. According to Principal Asenath Andrews, there is tremendous support from the community in Detroit and they have made several attempts to demonstrate the school’s value to the community. “They tried everything: talking to the media, sending letters, even sending fruit from the school’s garden, nothing worked. This is just another example of how the United States isn’t a democracy. How the working class doesn’t have a voice.”
This news comes in the same week that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released findings that the state of Michigan’s economy grew 2.9% last year, and economists declare Michigan’s recession over and in a state of recovery and growth.