Monday, September 25, 2006

Why they're leaving

This article has a few clues about why black families are leaving the public school system. Those who have ears to hear...

"We felt like it wasn't the right environment, especially for an African American boy," said Tanya Marshall, 36. "The teachers were young and nervous. Black males were not being challenged and ending up in special ed."

A desire for more rigorous academics and greater emphasis on black history also has led black families into homeschooling, educators say.

Many say they left public schools because their children weren't expected to learn at an equal pace or being coached on getting into college, the schools were unsafe, or the curriculum lacked black history.

"Over the last couple of years, especially in places like D.C. and Cincinnati, there have been a growing number of black homeschooled students," said Michael Apple, a professor at the University of Wisconsin who studies the issue. "You will find more in areas where the black middle class can afford to do it."

"Some educators and families think that because blacks fought so hard to get equal access, we shouldn't abandon it," said Jennifer James, a North Carolina mother who in 2003 started the National African-American Homeschoolers Alliance, a 3,000-member, nonreligious group that provides information for homeschoolers. "But times have changed. It was a great step, but we have to think about our kids."

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