Did you know that more and more black families across the US are opting for homeschooling? A survey conducted by the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey revealed that at the beginning of 2020, only 3% of black students were homeschooled. That percentage had risen significantly to 16% by the end of the year.
The Census Bureau Household Pulse Survery.
What caused this sudden rise in homeschooling, especially in the black community?
The Census Bureau indicated that Covid-19 was a catalyst for the rise in homeschooling. However, many black parents have expressed dissatisfaction and frustration with the school system before the pandemic. There has been a steady increase in black homeschooling across the US.
Let us get into the reasons black families are opting for homeschooling.
Lack of Comprehensive Black History
When it comes to African American history covered in schools, it often starts with slavery and ends with the Civil Rights Movement. There is absolutely nothing wrong with covering these topics. They are crucial topics that children need to learn and understand. However, there is so much more to African history than just highlighting pain and struggle.
We have great ancient African civilizations such as the Benin Empire, Mali Empire, Mossi Kingdoms, Great Zimbabwe, the Kingdom of Kush, and many more. In addition, we also have incredible successful Africans such as Sunjata, Queen Njinga Mbandi, Mansa Musa I, Imhotep, to mention just a few.
Black children do not get to read and learn about this empowering side of history. They do not get a chance to build their sense of racial pride and self-esteem. They are just getting a drop in the ocean of black history.
Parents have taken it upon themselves to teach their kids about black history. They want their children to have a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of their history and culture.
With homeschooling, parents can provide their children with a black-focused curriculum, where children learn black literature, history, and culture.
Black Students Get Disciplined at a Higher Rate
Black students are disproportionally disciplined in comparison to white students.
The Civil Rights Data Collection recorded that black students accounted for 40% of suspensions in the country, despite only making up 16% of enrollment.
Black students are more likely to be stereotyped as troublemakers and punished frequently. Even wealthy black families have reported the same, whereby their children are seen as troublemakers in affluent schools. Due to this notion, some black parents have been told that their children need special education for their 'behavioural challenges.'
Homeschool has offered a solution because the parents and kids avoid such cases from arising.
Lack of Enough Black Teachers
Teachers play a significant role in a child's educational journey. When a child gets a good teacher who can mentor them, guide them, and understand them, it can have a lasting impact and set them on the right path. An example is Quinta Brunson, an American writer, producer and actress. She created a TV show, Abott Elementary, inspired by her grade 6 teacher.
Unfortunately, black students attending public schools are less likely to be taught by black teachers. There are about 7% of black educators in public schools.
Having a teacher who looks like you, understands you, and guides you is a great experience that many black students may not get a chance to experience.
Racism in Schools
Racism is arguably one of the main reasons that parents have chosen to homeschool their kids. There is pervasive racism and inequalities in the school system. Many articles cited at the end of this blog post have examples of parents and children describing different incidences of racism, such as being called racial slurs.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, there are anti-black stereotypes alongside discriminatory discipline practices that black children face in schools.
Black students struggle to ask for help and support from the faculty/authority. In turn, it has resulted in students feeling isolated and disconnected from regular schools.
Parents have stepped in to shield their children from experiencing racism by educating them at home. This move is known as racial protectionism. But can you blame them? Each parent wants to provide the best for their child. And with homeschooling, they are assured they can provide a loving, positive and nurturing learning environment.
Bullying is another reason parents have cited for withdrawing their kids from regular schools. Bullying has a detrimental effect on a child, whether physical, verbal, cyber, or emotional. In some unfortunate cases, black students have reported undergoing bullying from administrators. In other cases, they were bullied by peers for different reasons.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1 in 5 students in the US between ages of 12 - 18 has been bullied during the school year.
Looking for a More Challenging Curricula
One of the reasons that parents prefer homeschooling is the fact that they can customize the curriculum to fit their child's needs. Black parents are frustrated with the white-washed history lessons that their children are receiving. They have chosen to teach them diverse history.
Furthermore, they are tired of the culture of low expectations for black students. It has also been termed the belief gap, which holds children back. In response, parents have turned to homeschool to cater and to customize their children's education.
Studies have shown that Black homeschooled students' scores are equal to or higher than white public school students' scores on average.
Black parents currently homeschooling have reported trying private, public, and charter schools. They were unable to find the proper fit for their kids. Homeschooling has proven an effective method for several black families. It has put the power back to the parents, who have re-imagined their children's education and pushed for change.