I could see how for many students of color, it would be better off just staying home.

“The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families”… http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/the-rise-of-homeschooling-among-black-families/385543/

Of course one thought that might emerge: “With the millions of Black American children suffering, not learning and wasting away in our nation’s public school systems; will 220,000 children make a difference, is the effort worth it?

I once visited a poorly functioning high school and had a terrible thought; a thought, that fortunately I kept to myself. In this case I simply took the advice I have offered students for many years: “Just because an idea enters your brain, you do realize that you are under no obligation to express that idea.” For those reasons I never expressed my strategically held “secret” thoughts in my meeting with the school leadership team, after the tour. And so the thought I held secret was this: “Instruction is so poorly delivered and received in this high school, at what point do we stop calling: “not-a-school”, well, not a school?” Students when they did arrive to class, arrived late and disrupted any brave attempt a teacher might try to make at teaching a lesson.” Further, I said (again to myself): “so much of the time of the school’s poorly evidenced instructional and learning practice was lost over the course of a day; that I am not sure that if the students in this school would not do any worse (and might even do better); if they simply stayed home, watched Sesame Street, was given books, science kits and a computer?” “They could”, I mused, “possibly even learn something!” (I admit that was not a nice thought, but it accurately portrayed how I felt at the time!) That memory came to mind as I read this article on the Black Family Home schooling movement. I posted the article on Facebook and the following commentaries emerged:

Chryssey A. Schloss-Allen(CASA): Interesting. I’m sure many people in NYC want to do this especially with such competition and poor school choices left to the black community. Too bad you can’t open a small 3-student home school for people with standard work schedules.

MAJ.: After seeing (for so many years) the amount of harm visited on children of color in our public school systems; I have grown in appreciation of this movement. Even if the parents are “less than experts”, they can do a heck of a lot better than a lot of these schools. Particularly in that critical area of: high expectations. I say that even as I love the unrealized potential of public education; and knowing the pedagogical importance of socialization in the education of the child. Hey at this point, I say: save your children! I am going to do more in supporting these parents.

CASA: Maybe I’ll start a weekend science program in the nearer future. I know enough about basic biology and I can technically teach it up to a point. Most I’d need help with is physics and astronomy. I know where to get inexpensive microscopes and free samples and other kits. I have a telescope and I know people who can teach robotics/computer skills. I actually want more kids to be home schooled or at least have access to supplemental education. Low income does not equal mentally challenged.

Candace Howe: let me know if you need help in chemistry/anatomy & physiology.

CASA: Definitely!

This conversation made me think about something I have learned from my 30+ public education journey. That is, unless the parents and communities for whom the public school systems of this nation has, and continues to tragically fail their children, decide to take an uncompromising stand. The poor, missing, 2nd rate and inadequate educational experiences will continue. Waiting and expecting for help from Black leadership is, to borrow a line from Bob Marley, like: “waiting in vain.” In fact the most current and efficient deniers of a quality Black child educational experience, will more than likely be delivered from the hands of those who look like the children. Black parents may need to be the Black leadership that saves and protects Black children in this nation. This (public education) thing is like a war; complete with victors, losers, casualties and collectors of huge amounts of money despite the overwhelming amount of academic failure. And it is a war that must be fought on many fronts. But I feel that the first, and most important front is the child’s home; and however parents choose to fight on that “front”, I think it is a worthwhile effort. I was reminded of a recent post by Uche Blackstock where she was taking her child on a trip to the Brooklyn Museum. I responded: “Great Job! In terms of student academic achievement. The quality of “informal” educational experiences. are equally as important as the quality of “formal” education experiences.” My mother did not have the level of formal education achievement by the three young ladies I mention in this post; and yet her “mother wit”, combined with a clear understanding of why she left her native land in the Caribbean to come to America; told her to encourage and support my visits to that same Brooklyn Museum; the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Zoo. All of these places planted a thought (that grew over the years); that there was a big and exciting world beyond my Brooklyn Crown Heights neighborhood; and most important, I wanted to learn about that world! We absolutely need parents with the skills to teach their own children at home. But all parents regardless of their level of education can choose to encourage and inspire their children, starting at home. One single child is important, because in my mothers case, the educational support of one child, led to the educational support of thousands of children she would never see; and who benefitted from her actions long after her death. Yes, saving even one child, or 220,000 children is very much worth it!