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The core beliefs and educational philosophy that guide CDF Freedom Schools and all CDF youth development programs are:
At CDF Freedom Schools programs, children are valued, celebrated, and given opportunities to learn the pleasure of reading and improve their ability to read, while connecting to their culture, developing self-discipline, having fun, and participating in community service and social action. CDF Freedom Schools programs are nurturing environments that promote children’s strengths and abilities, and are not remedial nor oriented around a child deficit model.
CDF Freedom Schools programs are living monuments to the heroes and heroines who worked to achieve the promise of Brown v Board of Education. Well run enrichment programs like CDF Freedom Schools boost the academic achievement of low-income and minority students, and help prepare them to compete in academically strong and diverse student populations.
An effective social movement needs people who are more interested in developing the leadership of others than in being leaders themselves.
—Ella Josephine Baker