We hear so much about the plight of Black children and their low test scores. We have not heard that African-American children who are homeschooled are scoring at the 82 percent in reading and 77 percent in math. This is 30-40 percent above their counterparts who are being taught in school. There is a 30 percent racial gap in schools, but there is no racial gap in reading if taught in the home and only a 5 percent gap in math.
What explains the success of African-American students being taught by their parents? I believe that it’s love and high expectations. I am reminded of Booker T. Washington High School. They were honored several years ago for producing the greatest turnaround as a Recovery school. The principal had the opportunity to pick and choose her staff and emphatically stated, “If you want to teach in this school you must love the students.”
Researchers love promoting that the racial gap is based on income, marital status, and the educational background of the parents. Seldom, if ever, do they research the impact of love and high expectations.
Since the landmark decision, Brown vs. Topeka in 1954, there has been a 66 percent decline in African-American teachers. Many African-American students are in classrooms where they are not loved, liked, or respected. Their culture is not honored and bonding is not considered. They are given low expectations – which helps to explain how students can be promoted from one grade to another without mastery of the content.
There are so many benefits to homeschooling beyond academics. Most schools spend more than 33 percent of the day disciplining students. And bullying has become a significant issue. One of every six Black males is suspended and large numbers are given Ritalin and placed in special education. These problems seldom, if ever, exist in the homeschool environment.
Another major benefit is the summer months. Research shows that there is a 3-year-gap between White and Black students. Some students do not read nor are involved in any academic endeavor during the summer. Those students lose 36 months or three years if you multiply three months times 12 years (grades first -12). Homeschool parents do not allow academics to be forsaken for three months.
Finally, in the homeschool environment, parents are allowed to teach their children values. Large numbers of parents are teaching their children faith-based morals and principals. And many are teaching their children with the Africentric curriculum SETCLAE. These children are being taught truths like, Columbus did not discover America; Abraham Lincoln did not free the slaves; Hippocrates was not the father of medicine and that African history did not begin on a plantation, but on a pyramid.
Until public schools give more love, higher expectations, better classroom management, greater time on task throughout the entire year, values, and the SETCLAE curriculum, we can expect to continue to see an increase in African-American parents homeschooling their children.
Jawanza Kunjufu is a Chicago-based educational consultant, mentor, author and lecturer.