Home schooling has generally been considered to be the exclusive domain of white Americans. But an expert in the field says there is a marked increase in the number of African-American parents who have chosen to home school their children.
Brian Ray, the director of the National Home Education Research Institute, said there is strong evidence more Black parents, many of them inner-city residents, have chosen to educate their children at home.
Ray said there is little in the way of empirical data on the subject from the federal Department of Education. However, based on a huge amount of anecdotal evidence and his own research, Ray said the trend is irrefutable.
“I’ve been studying the home school movement since 1984,” Ray said, in an interview with BET.com. “But the blending of empirical information and anecdotal reports from home school groups around the country makes it clear that there are more and more African-American families who home school their children.”
Ray said the reasons for Black families turning to home schooling are largely the same as those of white Americans.
“It’s really quite identical,” he said. “They feel they can do at least as well as the public school in educating their kids. Also, they have strong values that they say they want to pass on to their kids that won’t be offered in public schools.”
Another reason, he added, was that “parents want to guide the social interaction of their kids during the school day.” In addition, Ray said, “they want to build stronger family relationships.”
In rare instances, Black families decided to home school their children because of experiences of racism in public and private schools, he said. He also said there are some parents who wanted to place greater emphasis on Afrocentric themes and the contributions of African-Americans in the education of their children.
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(Photo: The Plain Dealer/Landov)