As a result of the pandemic last year, many families had to go virtual with their child’s particular school/district. Instead of continuing with traditional school, many black families opted to try homeschooling. Now, as schools are trying to reopen and bring students back, many black families have opted not to return, and have chosen to stick with homeschooling instead.
Angela Valentine says her 12-year-old son, Dorian, will not be returning. Instead, he will be home-schooled.
“I just began to see some telltale signs that things weren’t working to our advantage,” Chicago-native Angela Valentine said in an interview with NBC News of her 12-year-old son Dorian’s education. “And started to see some discrepancies, some inequities.”
According to Valentine, she states that some of the inequities included: failing to give him adequate support and solutions for subjects in which he was weak. Additionally, as one of the only Black boys in his class, Dorian had to also contend with racist comments.
“We later found out that he was called the N-word,” Valentine said.
Bernita Bradley, an education advocate, told the popular news outlet that she has heard similar stories from parents in her hometown, Detroit.
Detroit Superintendent Nikolai Vitti also echoed that in addition to what Bradley and Valentine stated, parents also became frustrated with getting the proper resources to have their children educated during closures last year.
“Families were crying out for help,” she said. “All parents kept getting was ‘Oh, this is a pandemic and be gracious and give us time.’ Not that it was perfect for anybody — it was a whole pandemic — but families just started tapping out. They were like, ‘If you won’t help me, I’ll do this myself.’”
And doing something they did. Bradley became the point of contact for Black parents interested in homeschooling their children. She received a $25,000 education grant from VELVA, which funds people and programs that are meeting students’ and families’ educational needs. As a result of her funding, Bradley launched Engaged Detroit, a home-school co-op that assists Black parents with educational resources.
Brian Ray, a doctor of science education who founded the National Home Education Research Institute, stated in the NBC News piece that over the past 15 years more Black parents have decided to home-school.
According to an analysis by the organization in 2015, in the late 90s, Black children made up just 1 percent of homeschoolers across the country. Statistics gathered by a survey by the Census Bureau, 3.3 percent of Black families were home-schooling their children in spring 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, but now, that figure has jumped to the figure jumped to 16.1 percent.
As schools reopen, the National Black Home Educators’ CEO Joyce Burges says that interest in her organization has been “overwhelming.”
“We are bringing a Black experience,” Burges said. Black history, literature and culture “should have never been left out,” she said, adding: “It should have never been invisible, but an older gentleman told me a long time ago, he said, ‘Joyce, the story’s going to be told according to the people who write the story, and Black Americans — we are writing this story … so this is the spirit of how we write our curriculum for families, and it’s a beautiful thing.”
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