Why the James and Grace Lee Boggs School?
By Guest Blogger Kibibi Blount-Dorn
Before I was a parent, I was adamant that, when I had children, I would send them to public school. I knew that any school could become a nurturing learning environment if there were enough dedicated parents, teachers, and administrators. But somewhere along the way, our education system became an industry instead of an institution.
It became a contest to see who could manage our children with the fewest resources instead of a challenge to find effective ways to engage their minds and develop their humanity. It has become a school system run too long using flawed economic and educational models and has left our schools as places where the ability of our teachers to educate students is restricted; the very safety of our children is in jeopardy. As I get ready to send my first child to kindergarten and explore the landscape of schools in the city, I face the bitter reality that the public school system is not an option.
When people ask me where I went to school, I often tell them I attended Detroit Public Schools, but that I am a graduate of Detroit Summer. Throughout the summers I spent as a volunteer and then as a youth organizer with Detroit Summer, I learned a lot about my community, society, and myself. I explored with my peers and my mentors the definition of community and the balance of power that influences what our communities look like. I learned about the social movements that shaped our society, and abut the personal transformations that lead us toward even greater social change. I learned a lot of things that I wasn’t being taught in school, and I wondered why schools weren’t providing this sort of education. I began to imagine what it would look like to have an education system that focused on developing the minds and humanity of our young people, and empowering them to build a society that they envision.
Several years ago, some friends of mine decided they would open a school that would fulfill the vision many of us shared, a school that values young people and teaches them to value their contribution to our communities. I have to say it was my dream come true, to have people who I trust and love, who are part of my circle, start a school where I know my child will be nurtured, loved, and taught the value of community. I want my child to go to a school where his human development is valued and where he is taught that he can make a contribution to this home we all share. That’s why he will be enrolling at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.