In Detroit, Freedom Schools Offer an Alternative to City’s Struggling Education System

By Zenobia Jeffries

September 6, 2016

Excerpt: “Our intention is to do as much in outreach around the city and get into as many churches and community centers where they’re happy to have us,” said Gloria House, who is a former member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, a historic civil rights organization. She noted that DIFSM teachers volunteered in community centers this summer, while D-REM is working with other institutions to expand the program this fall. It’s about the movement, not a fixed institution, House said.

….The Detroit Freedom Schools Movement is still in its beginning stages. Teachers create their own plans and curricula for now, said Aurora Harris, a DISFM volunteer educator and professor at University of Michigan-Dearborn. The program provides cultural activities, along with the core subjects of math, science, English/language arts, and social studies. During the school year, it will continue as an after-school program at various locations, as D-REM and the educators work to expand their reach. So far, one of the locations where the program will begin in early September is the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, one of the world’s largest institutions dedicated to African American history and culture.

House and Harris say the idea behind the DIFSM program is self-determination.

“I think as we do this, we will also see parents become more politically active and engaged,” said House. “Maybe not immediately, but who knows.”