19 Facts About Marva Collins


Marva Collins was born in Monroeville, Alabama, to father, Henry Knight, a businessman who owned a funeral home and worked with cattle, and to mother, Bessie Knight.


Marva Collins grew up in Atmore, Alabama, a small town near Mobile, Alabama, during the time of segregation in the American South.


When she was young, Marva Collins went to a strict elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse in Atmore, Alabama, an experience which influenced her later in life.


Marva Collins graduated from Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia.


Dismayed at the low levels of learning that she felt some students were experiencing in particular areas, Marva Collins took $5,000 from her own teacher's retirement fund and started a private school on the top floors of the brownstone in the West Garfield Park neighborhood where she lived in 1975.


Marva Collins created her low-cost private school specifically for the purpose of teaching low income black children whom Marva Collins felt the Chicago Public School System had mislabeled as being learning disabled.


Marva Collins said she had the data to prove that her students were teachable and were able to overcome obstacles of learning via her teaching methods, which she said eliminated behavioral issues and allowed students to flourish.


Marva Collins felt time spent with students was more valuable than distance-creating audio visual information.


Collins became well-known due to the 1981 TV movie based on her life's work entitled The Marva Collins Story, starring Cicely Tyson and Morgan Freeman.


Marva Collins appeared on a featured news article on CBS's 60 Minutes.


Ross had difficulties continuing his education, but when he had serious troubles, Marva Collins was instrumental in helping him.


In 1996, Marva Collins was hired to supervise three Chicago public schools that had been placed on probation.


In 2004, Marva Collins received a National Humanities Medal, among many awards for her teaching and efforts at school reform.


Marva Collins was known for applying classical education, in particular the Socratic method, modified for use in primary schools, successfully with impoverished students.


Marva Collins criticized the teaching of the students, not the students themselves.


Marva Collins wrote a number of manuals, books and motivational tracts describing her history and methods.


In 1982 and in subsequent articles, Collins has been criticized by George N Schmidt from Substance News, who claims that Collins' work was fraudulent.


Marva Collins married to Clarence Marva Collins from September 1960 until his death in 1995.


Marva Collins died on June 24,2015 in Beaufort County, South Carolina, aged 78, while in hospice care.