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Homeschooling As a Response to Institutional School Racism

Used to be that most Home Schoolers did so for religious reasons.

With the reports of the disciplinary actions against black students,  the school to jail pipeline, and the failure of Charter Schools, more and more parents with the wherewithal are deciding to Home School.

Why more black parents are home-schooling their kids

While some parents cite religious and moral reasons, others say they are keeping their kids out of public schools to protect them from school-related racism.

 

Nikita Bush comes from a family of public school teachers: Her mom, aunts, uncles – nearly all of them have been involved in public education at some level.

But her own teaching career ended, she says, “in heartbreak” when she had to make a decision about where her own child would go to school.

After being reprimanded repeatedly for folding Afro-centric education into her Atlanta classroom, she left. Fifteen years and six children later, Ms. Bush leads a growing homeschooling co-op near Atlanta’s historic West End neighborhood.

Despite the promises of the civil rights movement, “people are starting to realize that public education in America was designed for the masses of poor, and its intent has been to trap poor people into being workers and servants. If you don’t want that for your children, then you look for something else,” she says. To her, the biggest flaw in public education is a lack of character education, an “absence of a moral binding,” that contributes to low expectations – and lower outcomes for children of color.

Ms. Bush is part of a burgeoning movement of African-American parents done waiting for public schools to get better. The numbers of black parents choosing to home-school their children has doubled in a little over a decade – about 220,000 black school-aged children are being homeschooled – up from estimates of 103,000 in 2003, according to the National Home Research Institute (NHERI).

“Moms and dads are saying, ‘We just want what’s best for our children,’ ” says Brian Ray, who founded NHERI and has written a paper on black home-schooling parents and how their children perform academically. “They’ve been told for 20, 30, 40 years that public schools will get better, they’ll get better for black kids, but … black kids are still at the bottom of the totem poll in terms of academic achievement… and black families know it.”

The reasons black parents cite for home-schooling their children cover a wide range. Some sound similar to the  homeschooling movement as a whole: religious beliefs, a desire to shelter children from an increasingly crass or materialistic society, a conviction that they are best-suited to teach their kids the values they need to live a fulfilling life.

But other parents cite incidents of racial bullying, studies showing that black students are less likely to be recommended for gifted and advanced classes, and multiple studies showing that African-American children – especially boys – are disproportionately likely to be suspended or arrested.

In short, in order to protect their children from school-related racism, more black parents are keeping their kids out of school entirely, writes Ama Mazama, a professor of African American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia who has written extensively on home-schooling. She has dubbed the movement “racial protectionism.”

On academic performance, home-schooled students in his study scored between 23 and 42 percentile points above their public school counterparts in math, reading, and English, says Dr. Ray of NHERI. But he and others stress that research is nascent and more comprehensive studies need to be conducted before broader conclusions can be drawn. Ray’s study looked at 81 home-schooled students, for example.

Interestingly, given one common concern about home-schooled students not getting needed socialization with peers, the students in his study scored above average “on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development.”

Georgia’s twist on home-schooling

In most states, home-schooling parents tend to be dual-parent and middle- or upper-income, according to Ray’s research, enabling one parent to stay home and teach the kids.

But Georgia is different, says Cheryl Fields-Smith, a professor of education at the University of Georgia. While most states prohibit homeschooling parents from teaching anybody except their own children, Georgia has no such restriction. That has given rise to co-ops, where, in essence, groups of parents serve as rotating teachers, based on their own skill sets, talents, and fortes.

Nikita Bush

That, Professor Fields-Smith says, has allowed single black moms to band together to give their children an education that they say better reflects their values and history – while still being able to work.

“Some of the most amazing inventions come forward out of a need,” says Queen Taese, a Lithonia, Ga., mom who has homeschooled her seven children. “And with the way public education is going, there was an inevitable need, especially for the black community, because less funds go to our schools and there are a lot less opportunities unless our children go outside our community.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life

 

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