Your response to the story about Detroit closing Catherine Ferguson Academy, the farm school for pregnant girls and young moms, was visceral. "NO! No. No. No," wrote commenter @Kirk. "This is seriously devastating. What can we do?"
Right now, those of you in the TRMS audience who are looking for a way to save Catherine Ferguson Academy are a lonely bunch. It's not that other people don't care -- it's that most of the world still hasn't gotten the news. Even the local Detroit press hasn't picked up on the story yet. You're some of the very few who know about it. The World Socialists have the lone other report up today -- it's worth reading.
Before this news broke, Defend Public Education had a petition going, and so did Change.org. We started compiling a list of resources here. The answer to the question of what you can do, in this case, really does rest with you. Feel free to use the comments here as a jumping-off place for discussion.
What I did find in the Michigan press today is a story saying that Michigan's economy has begun growing again after many, many hard years:
Michigan's long recession is officially over. According to government data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Michigan's economy grew 2.9 percent last year, outpacing the national average of 2.6 percent. The gain follows declines of 5 percent in 2009 and 4.3 percent in 2008.
Last year, Michigan's economy was the 15th fastest-growing in the country and the second-fastest in the Midwest, behind Indiana, which grew by 4.6 percent.
The state's overlong misery created opportunity for conservative policymakers. This spring, the largely black and poor town of Benton Harbor became the first in Michigan to have its elected leadership removed from power by a state-appointed emergency manager. As Eclectablog reports, he has continued to tighten the reins and to put his own stamp on how things are run; Eclectablog counts 18 recalls in connection with the emergency manager law.
And now the emergency manager of the Detroit schools has decided to close Catherine Ferguson, even as the first tiny glimmers of hope for a revived Michigan come into sight. Principal Asenath Andrews told me yesterday that the emergency manager is also closing two other high schools for at-risk kids. The view seems to be that Detroit can't afford to help them anymore, not right now. In which case the next question is whether the city, the state or the rest of us can afford the long-term cost of not helping them.