Homeschooling on the Rise in Black Communities
Monday, May 19, 2003
LOS ANGELES "” With a 4,000 percent increase in a 20-year span, homeschooling has become one of the fast-growing phenomenons, especially inside the black community. In fact, black children are now five times more likely to be homeschooled than they were five years ago.
In conjunction with the usual public school concerns, such as safety, many black parents also feel that their African American history is ignored in the curriculum.
Ghia Johnson, a single mother of four, who has been homeschooling for seven years now, is one of the many parents who feel that public schools are dangerous, ineffective and focus too little on African American history.
"That takes precedence over math and science and all other subjects, because if they don't know who they are or where they came from then I don't believe they will know where they are going," Johnson said.
Ironically, many people are accusing black homeschool advocates of turning back the clock on civil rights and integration in public schools.
"What our fathers believed in the 1950s is that if it was a white school, it had to be better," says Joyce Burges, who has homeschooled four children in Baker, La. "But in the last five years, more and more black parents are saying about those same schools: 'I'm not going to sacrifice my children to a system where they're suffering.'"
Others see civil rights as the freedom to educate as one pleases.
Mark Mabson, a homeschooling father, said, "I want to be looked upon as an individual and as an individual I want to do what is best for my family, I don't have to follow with the majority."
The Mabson family feels that the public school system is failing on numerous levels and is moving away from what is right to what is politically correct.
"We can teach our own morals, we can still say the Pledge of Allegiance, we can teach them about our country and loyalties," adds Karen Mabson, Mark's wife.
This movement is growing by leaps and bounds in black suburban communities, such as Atlanta, Richmond, Va., and Prince George County, Md., according to The Christian Science Monitor, and is partly fueled by groups like the Mocha-Moms . The Atlanta-based Mocha-Moms, which is a group of black housewives turned homeschooling mavens, offers tips and advice on the homeschooling experience.
Some critics say that homeschooled children might be academically challenged but miss out on valuable social experiences.
"The socialization process today is far more difficult than we really know," Charles Christian, a University of Maryland sociologist, told The Christian Science Monitor. He notes that a lot of parents "are simply saying that [public] school is not where they want to send their children during their formative years."