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Many African-Americans Choosing to Home School Children

loHomeschoolPC1In 2010, Stephan Stafford, at the age of 13, had a triple major in pre-med, mathematics and computer science at Morehouse College. As reported in the March 12, 2012, Milwaukee Courier series, Young, Gifted and Black, scholar Stephan is the youngest student ever to be admitted to this renowned Atlanta all-male campus.

And additionally, at the age of 15, as again reported in the Nov. 9, 2013, Courier series, Stafford was included among listing of the World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers.

He was home schooled until age 11.

At the age of 11, according to the Courier account, his mother was challenged with teaching Algebra II. His parents then decided to send him to Morehouse College to audit mathematics. In his first class, College Algebra, he scored 105 and in Pre-Calculus his grade was 99. Given his exemplary academic performance level even in view of his still blossoming teen years, Morehouse admitted him as a full-time student.

Being an area resident and because of his age, Stephan was driven to campus daily where he attends his classes and picked up by his mom for his return ride home in the evenings.

Citing Garrett Tenney in his June 16, 2012, posting, African Americans increasingly turn to home schooling, nationwide, astounding numbers of American families are selecting to home school their children each year, and the fastest-growing segment of home-schooling numbers are African-Americans. Tenney estimates that some 220,000 Black children are home schooled.

According to the site, Successful Homeschooling, African-Americans, “want to escape a failing school system that harms Black children at even higher rates than it does other children.” The writing continues with the point that public schooling tends to teach, “ideals that contradict traditional Black values.”

“Since the landmark decision, Brown v. Topeka in 1954, there has been a 66 percent decline in African-American teachers,” posits educator Jawanza Kunjufu in his Sept. 27, 2013, Atlanta Voice writing on African-American home schooling.

“Many African American students,” he adds, “are in classrooms where they are not loved, liked or respected. Their culture is not honored and bonding is not even a consideration. They are given low expectations, which helps to explain how students can be promoted from one grade to another without mastery of content.”

Successful Homeschooling further shares that many Black parents additionally decide to home educate so that they can teach African-American history and culture, an area, notes the posting, that is “often neglected by traditional schools until Black History Month.”

“At home, children can learn about the heroic Black soldiers, pilots and inventors who have contributed to America,” the site reveals. “They grow up with a strong sense of purpose and identity, which is so often damaged by the racial bias, labeling and negative peer pressure that can occur in public schools.”

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3 thoughts on “Many African-Americans Choosing to Home School Children

  1. Don Berg says:

    I have heard from others in the alternative education realm that some people of color or in poverty perceive the "radical" alternatives that facilitate self-directed learning as risky. It's like that old saying that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. The idea being that while mainstream schooling has clear hazards they are more willing to face those odds.

    It would be like telling parents in Independence, MO, in 1849 at the start of the Oregon Trail that you could fly them to Oregon in one day and that the chances of not dying are better. Those parents have a one in ten chance of dying along with their children over the 4 month 2,200 mile journey by going the usual way. Airplanes are completely unknown so even if they could in theory improve their chances from 1-in-10 to less than 1-in-100 the fact that an airplane is completely unfamiliar makes the decision to go the familiar way almost certain.

    Alternatives like home schooling are unfamiliar so they are slow to grow, despite evidence that they are at least as reliable for academics and future prospects and are the only models with data that shows they support the psychological well-being of children.

  2. Frank Donahue says:

    The American education system is / can be a keystone in socializing our children, in ways they will miss out on as home-schooled students. Unfortunately too much of the system ignores or bypasses the needs of ALL children, still acting as if the reality of a multicultural America does not exist. Whether white-focused or not, the curriculum has always been sanitized and fails to present a truthful picture of both US and world history, from an unbiased viewpoint. If we lose public education, I feel we lose a tremendous opportunity to create a common base of knowledge and experience that supports a more unified, cooperative and cohesive society. BUT the changes necessary to pull that ideal off touch almost every aspect of the current system as we know it. It's not just the "pipeline to prison" problem, it's also the pipeline to poverty, minimal expectations, wasted opportunity and undeveloped potential that needs revolutionary change. Jaime Escalante is proof that the potential exists in every school. He wasn't blessed with extraordinary students, the students were blessed with extraordinary teaching. A school with a history of outstanding sports programs isn't any different than any other school, it's the COACH who makes the difference. Untapped potential exists in every school in the nation, just waiting for the curriculum and instruction to bring it to the surface.

  3. Don Berg says:

    If you want socialization that enables children to have the confidence to deal well with people who are different from them, then home schooling offers many more opportunities than regular schools. Home schooled children spend more time in the company of people of diverse ages and in their wider community than those who are stuck in a room with their age-mates. Research data shows that home schooled children have better social skills than their schooled counterparts.

    Jaime Escalante was part of a program that took years of collaborative teamwork to build and it survived after he left the school. Hollywood presented his story in simplified form because collaboration and professional development don't play as well on screen. Jaime Escalante is proof that professional collaborations and systematic support are what are needed to tap into the potential of our schools.

    I do agree that our education system could be an important part of socializing our children, but that will only become the case if we can get away from the individualist fantasies that ignore the systemic nature of schooling. It takes the whole orchestra to make Beethoven's 5th Symphony into beautiful music instead of noise. Schooling takes an ensemble, too. Everyone needs to play their parts well. Effective home schooling relies on the whole community to achieve the good results that they get. Effective public schooling needs to do a better job of orchestrating cooperation and collaboration.

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