September 02, 2003
Black parents taking charge

There have been a big debates for years about the rights and wrongs of education for black people, especially black boys, and not just (e.g.) here (to name the nearest spot of the blogosphere to me thus exercised lately). Is it racist? Do teachers expect too little? In general: who's damn fault is it?

But if you are a black parent, what do you do? Not surprisingly, a lot of black parents are now moving to home schooling. Although the "home" bit is not quite the central point. The central point is, they're doing it themselves..) And because home schooling is a much bigger thing in the USA than it is here, yet, black home schooling is becoming very big there.

Venus and Serena Williams are perhaps the most famous among those who call home their alma mater. The tennis stars were educated at home after their father withdrew the pair from middle school to teach them himself.

The Williams family has become a visible part of a phenomenon that can be seen across the nation – an increase in the number of black families who are choosing to homeschool.

Homeschooling has come a long way since it first came on the scene more than 30 years ago. In fact, homeschooling has become a viable education option for families across the country and has seen a 4,000 percent increase in 20 years.

The fastest growing demographic of homeschoolers is the number of families, where black children are five times more likely to be homeschooled than they were five years ago.

“There’s really a shift in the African-American community,” said Jennifer James, a homeschooling mother in Chapel Hill, N.C., who founded the National African American Homeschoolers Alliance in January. "Parents are taking hold of their child’s education. They’re saying 'I’ve got to do it because nobody else is going to do it.'"

Link added. Thanks to the Libertarian Alliance Forum for the news.

As I say, the real story here is surely black do-it-yourself education rather than merely black home education. Black-managed independent schools are surely part of the same trend, as is the increasingly vocal preference among US blacks for education vouchers, in defiance of Democratic Party orthodoxy. One way or another, the parents are taking back control of their children's education from the wider culture, which has been failing them both so badly, for so long.

Let's home that in a couple of decades time the question will be at least, and at last, moving towards: Who should get the credit for black education in the USA? - and that similar trends will make themselves felt more strongly in the UK.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:38 PM
Category: Free market reformsHome educationParents and children