The type of emergency powers recently granted to the state have been in place inside Detroit Public Schools for over a decade. State-appointed managers have pillaged the district, introduced chaos, corruption, and debt, along with test-based curricula, program cuts, and a disdain for democracy. Ultimately, they have undermined the spaces where real learning might happen.
Despite it all, excellent schools and invaluable programs continue to fight and survive. One of them is Catherine Ferguson Academy, a school for pregnant and parenting teen mothers, which could close this summer if charter operators do not place a bid to take over the building. CFA students and graduates have made it clear what the school means to them.
The April building occupation by students and a CFA teacher ended in eight arrests. The gathering of community supporters outside represents a real potential for continued organizing around this school and all of our schools right now.
The future of CFA and dozens of schools will be decided in the next few weeks. Changes are happening quickly, and often behind the scenes. That’s the whole point of emergency managers—to subvert the democratic process. We need to re-invent that process. Local, independent media is a vital part of that effort.
Critical Moment is opening a new section of our website on Schools at www.critical-moment.org to:
—Tell stories and analyze the attacks on public education, and the responses to them. Publish the multimedia voices and visions of citizen journalists, students, parents, teachers, and community.
—Post updates on events, campaigns, protests, hearings, and places to plug into or publicize organizing spaces in the city.
—Publish documents and knowledge that help us understand the contours of this secretive privatization effort, and where we can intervene to shape it.
This letter is an invitation to the Detroit community to use this media outlet as place to gather and share information, update each other on organizing spaces, and to publish stories about the schools. Please contribute story ideas, videos from your cellphone, petitions, meeting announcements, hearing dates, calls to protest, and any information you have about DPS and the charter school bidding process. We’ll post it, along with continuing coverage.
Write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The fight to save CFA in the next few weeks is part of a citywide, decades-long struggle that will continue in various forms beyond this month. This media project exists to support and amplify the creative, community-based efforts to protect public education and make it better.