Racism Is Driving More Black Families To Home-School Their Children
In the U.S., home-schooling is one of the fastest growing forms of education. The number of kids in charter schools and the number of kids being home-schooled are comparable. Each hovers around 2 million.
However, research suggests that African American families choose to home-school for very different reasons than white families. It often has to do with how African American children are treated in school. That was the case for the Kirksey family.
In their household each school day starts with yoga in the back room. Then, the Kirkseys move to the dining room, where bowls of fruit mix with stacks of books. From there, they do poetry recitation, reading and math. And Fridays are reserved for field trips and science experiments.
Kirksey says until a few years ago, home-schooling hadn’t even occurred to her.
“I’ve never seen anybody, especially black people, home-schooling,” Kirksey remembers.
At the time, Brandon was enrolled in a private pre-K program.
“It was a mostly black school with mostly white teachers, which didn’t really bother me until I saw the difference in how they treated certain kids, especially boys,” says Kirksey. “They were harsh – kind of barking at them, ordering them around.”
Black families choosing to home-school their kids is rising at an amazing rate…
Roughly 220,000 African American families now home-school in the U.S., according to Ama Mazama.
“It is a dramatic increase,” says Mazam, who is a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. “A few years ago the numbers were much, much lower.”
Mazama says African-American home school families tend to be urban, two-parent households that are relatively well off and well educated.
It’s hard to get concrete numbers, but Mazama did a qualitative study that looked at why families choose to home school.
For white families, it’s often about religion. However, for African-American families, Mazama explains, “the number one complaint is the racism.”
Mazama says African-Americans have spent generations fighting for access to good schools. And now, some of them have reached the conclusion that they can do a better job than traditional schools.
Would you consider home-schooling your children?