To a degree I can understand an objection to homeschooling by pastors of black churches because of loyalty to the public education to which the children are entitled. I remember the Normal Rockwell painting of the brave little girl being escorted to school against the backdrop of a wall with a nasty graffito scrawled across it, and rotten vegetable stains. To have fought so hard for the same rights as everyone else, and then to step away from those rights, can be a difficult step to take. If only the children for whom those rights were gained were treated as well as the children of their parents’ fellow-citizens.
- Agape Press, Tupelo, Mississippi, 21 October 2005, Louisiana Black Pastors’ Resistance to Home Education Surprises Advocate
The NBHERA co-founder was both puzzled and dismayed by the lack of support she found for home education among the state’s black congregation leaders. "I’ve gotten very little response from any of the black pastors across Louisiana — little to none," she says. "I can only go from what has been told to me, and that is that home schooling is a white world and it does not apply to black Americans."
That conclusion is so sad. Homeschooling belongs to no group and is only about parents raising their children within the family. There is no need to separate oneself from a cultural group, from extended family, or from the people with whom one identifies most closely. It isn’t about copying from another group, giving up what is at one’s core, or hiding who one is.
- Another of the scant "couple of reasons" pastors gave Burges for being largely indifferent to home schooling had to do with some sense of tradition or loyalty to the public schools, she notes. She says some black pastors explained that they could not get behind the idea of home schooling "because our forefathers fought so hard to gain equality in the educational system, and we’re not ready to pull out now."
There’s that U-turn that is so hard to make.
- Burges is concerned that many black families displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the subsequent flooding are still unaware that home schooling is an option available to them. One reason for this, she says, is that government and Red Cross officials have been telling parents they are mandated to enroll their children in public schools.
I wish Mrs. Burges luck, but in dealing with government entities, that’s what they would say, isn’t it?
In the meantime, for those who would like the choice there are a few free online resources for homeschooling via computer. Hurricane Katrina Relief: Free Curriculum