How Racism and COVID is Forcing Black Families to Homeschooling

More black families are beginning to adopt homeschooling as a sole system of education for their children.

This is significant because homeschooling was before now, known to be preferred my most white families. Now, black families are increasingly adopting homeschooling. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey found that in April 2020, 3% of Black households homeschooled their children, and by October 2020 it was up to 16%.

Considering that many children studied at home during the pandemic, the Bureau included questions in the survey to determine families with children schooling solely at home. And the figure of black homeschoolers was still high.

Joyce Burges, the founder of National Black Home Educators, said that since 2020, thousands of families have joined her organization.

“I think you’re going to see more and more parents, Black parents, homeschooling their children like never before,” Burges said.

Didakeje Griffin and her husband in Birmingham, Alabama, decided to adopt homeschooling against the public school for their two children — age 11 and 8 years — after pandemic-induced homeschooling. For her, it was a matter of safety from bullies, a desire for her children to understand the cultural history and freedom.

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“I want to have time to cultivate my children’s African-American, their Nigerian history and culture in them first, before anybody tries to tell them who they are,” Griffin said. COVID was the catalyst, “but it has not been the reason that we kept going.”

“I don’t want my kids to be subjected to racism in certain ways so early,” she said.

Cheryl Fields-Smith, a professor at the University of Georgia who studies Black homeschooling and its cultural significance said homeschooling for black people was a way of fighting educational racism.

“We all know that there are structures and policies and practices within our traditional schools that can be damaging to students of color, Black students in particular,” said Fields-Smith.

“This idea of white supremacy and the inferiority of Black people lingers today,” Fields-Smith said. “We are overcoming racism through homeschooling. I don’t think white people can say that.”

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