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Marva Collins is a pioneering school founder and education activist whose methods have transformed the lives of thousands of students.
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Teachers fail, school systems fail. The people who teach children that they are failures, they are the problem."
Not surprisingly, Marva Collins and her school became a national story. Time and Newsweek came calling, as did 60 Minutes and Good Morning America. In 1982,
As it grew, Collins moved her school out of her home and to a new location on Chicago's South Side. In time Marva's children, Patrick and Cynthia, worked for her and the school. In addition, other schools bearing her name have opened in Ohio and Florida. Collins' students are now doctors, lawyers and educators.
By the mid-1990s, Marva Collins had become a valued speaker, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for her appearances, much of it getting redirected to her school. Collins, who has authored several books, has also been celebrated with awards such as the Jefferson Award; the Humanitarian Award for Excellence; as well as honorary doctorates from institutions like Amherst, Dartmouth and Notre Dame. In 2004, President Bush honored her with the National Humanities Medal.
Sadly, in 2008, due to a lack of resources and community support, Westside Preparatory School closed its doors, as enrollment had dropped sharply in recent years. But with thousands of her students placed in jobs and attending colleges around the country, Collins' impact on the American school system, and the lives she helped turn around, continues.
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