Is it right, Homeschooling for Black Children?

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Is it right, Homeschooling for Black Children?

Post  Admin on Thu 6 Dec 2007 - 20:04

Is it right, Homeschooling for Black Children?

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When it came to ensuring their children would receive the best education possible, Rob and Anita Howe considered the pros and cons and public schools and explored the parochial schools near their home in Aspen Woods, Ohio. Soon the choice became crystal clear: If their children were to receive the best education they could provide, the Howes would have to teach them.
So while other children are staggering about in the mornings half-sleep getting ready to go to school, Robin, Elizabeth and Joshua are preparing to stay home. Anita doubles as their Mom and school marm. "We wanted our children to be able to study ... without the negative non-school related influences many school-children have to face," Rob recalls. "We don't believe children should have to deal with violence, gangs, sexual pressures, disregard for authority, classroom anarchy and sloppy methodology in school . . . We felt it was our parental duty to provide schooling free of them another way."
The Howes are not alone, experts say. The Ohio family is part of a small but swelling homeschooling movement nationwide. Estimates of the number of home-schooled children vary widely. Numbers come from voluntary questionnaires, not district data. The Department of Education estimates that between 500,000 and 750,000 learn to read, write and figure at kitchen tables and in home offices. The Home School Legal Defense Association fixes the figure at much higher - 1.23 million.
Even if the numbers are in dispute, Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute maintains homeschooling is growing at a rate of at least 15 percent and perhaps as much as 40 percent a year. Why the spurt? Isabel Lyman, co-director of Harkness Road High School in Amherst, Mass. and author of Homeschooling: Back to the Future, a Cato Institute policy analysis, cites two major reasons: "First, American public schools are turning out poor product - illiterate and unprepared graduates. Equally troubling, public schools have become crime scenes where drugs are sold, teachers are robbed and homemade bombs are found in lockers . . . Many parents, impatient for reform, are taking matters into their own hands."
Even so, homeschooling is not without its critics. In their written policy, The National Association of Elementary School Principals' written policy condemns home schooling. Melinda Anderson, a spokeswoman for the National Education Association, says the emphasis should not be on numbers: "As a nation, we should be focusing our attention on restoring the public's confidence in public education by working to raise standards for students and teachers, improving parental involvement, reducing class size and promoting proven methods for student achievement." Home-schoolers say they already have achieved these goals - and more.
Major newspapers have noticed. Over the past 10 years the movement has received favorable press from the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Washington Post. Even so, homeschooling is not for everyone.


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