Black Homeschooling Must Be Done!!

Posted on August 2, 2014 by

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If “Young, Gifted & Black”
Are To Be in Our Future
Black Homeschooling Must Be Done!!

by Mxolisi T. Sowell / Ozo-Sowande

(Pictured above are students and instructors of the Kamali Academy in New Orleans, an excellence-driven, African-centered Homeschooling institution.)

There were at least two important events in the month of July 2014 that served to emphasize what the title of this article is seeking to communicate: The 3rd Annual Liberated Minds Black Homeschool and Education Expo in Atlanta, GA (July 18-20) and the ACT-SO segment of the NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas, NV (July 17-20).

The Liberated Minds Expo was a straight up African-centered gathering of some of the nation’s most dedicated parents and students, along with scholars, educators, lecturers and workshop facilitators, representing the growing numbers of Black parents and families who are taking the revolutionary position of taking charge of the education of their children by removing them from the public systems and educating them at home or via community cooperatives, or African-centered, excellence-driven, independent Black schools.

The Expo included many 15-20 year veterans of homeschooling as well as those who are new to the challenge, all seeking to strengthen the movement, to make the greatest possible impact on the success of our children through the sharing of experiences, resources, knowledge and tools by which to address their specific needs for their wholistic development.

Queen Taese

Queen Taese

“It is not enough to encourage our children to dream. We must teach them to have vision. A dream is a wishful thought; momentary in action. Yet a vision is a destination that leads to infinite possibilities. It is our job to make sure that the education our children receive is an Afrikan ancestral map leading our children to a success BEYOND what we as parents and educators can even imagine.” –Queen Taese, A Liberated Minds Expo organizer

(For more info about the Expo & the Organization visit:
http://www.liberatedmindsexpo.com/)

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Many reasons have led African American parents and families to become the fastest growing sector choosing to remove their youths from public education, including:
• the 66% decline in African American teachers in public schools since the Brown vs. Topeka decision of 1954, resulting in many African American students being in classrooms where they are not loved, liked, or respected; where their culture is not honored and bonding is not considered;
• Black students too often are regarded with low expectations and given social promotions (advancement from one grade to another without mastery of the content);
• the growing incidence and severity of bullying and the presence of drugs;
• the lack of individualized instruction;
• the persistence of the so-called “achievement gap” between black and white students, with public school failures contributing to “more systematically devastating outcomes” – social, educational, economic — for Black males over the last 25-30 years than for any other population (according to a Schott Foundation study).

George Noblit, an education sociologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has put it this way: “For African-Americans, the current state of education is actually not one that is conducive to kids learning. More and more kids end up not being served well. African-Americans are positively saying, ‘It’s time to find a better educational situation.’”

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While the Liberated Minds Expo was in progress in Atlanta, the NAACP’s ACT-SO (the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) was in action in Las Vegas, as part of the NAACP’s national convention. ACT-SO is a yearlong enrichment program designed to encourage high academic and cultural achievement among underserved high school students of color. It includes 26 categories of competition in the sciences, humanities, business, and performing and visual arts. It relies on community volunteers and business leaders to serve in promoting academic and artistic excellence among African-American and Hispanic students, aiming to equip the students with skills that will empower them to live meaningful lives.

The late & eternal Vernon Jarrett (1918 – 2004) of Chicago, a renowned author, civil rights activist and journalist, initiated the ACT-SO idea in 1977; it was called the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics back then, designed to give young Black academic self-starters the publicity and scholarships routinely accorded athletic stars. Mr. Jarrett left these eternally relevant words with us: “We must never write off the potential for greatness among any of our beleaguered youth. Never!”

Following this year’s ACT-SO events, which included some 600 youths, Cornell William Brookes, the

Cornell William Brooks, NAACP Pres./CEO

Cornell William Brooks, NAACP Pres./CEO

new President and CEO of the NAACP, offered this observation: “They are brilliant children — budding orators, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. Too many of them face unfathomable challenges while trying to get a quality education, disserved and abandoned by the public schools in their hometowns.”

Other NAACP literature makes this observation: “Today there is nothing short of a state of emergency in the delivery of education to our nation’s communities of color.”
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An ancient Kemetic proverb says:
“True teaching is not an accumulation of knowledge; it is the awakening of consciousness which goes through successive stages.”
The Liberate Minds Expo (and similar endeavors) and the ACT-SO program serve to emphasize the absolute need for “homeschooling” in every Black child’s life. For in these enterprises parents and other committed adults are establishing the opportunity to pour their love and high expectations into the hearts and minds of the youth, and extend to them the kind of attention and understanding they need in order for the dynamics of that Kemetic proverb to manifest; for consciousness to come alive and young minds to be moved through the stages that bring them to accept nothing less than excellence as the standard for all of life.

Eric & Joyce Burges,  co-founders of NBHE

Eric & Joyce Burges,
co-founders of NBHE

Joyce Burges, co-founder of the National Black Home Educators, an organization that empowers parents to educate their children for excellence, says that this consciousness should facilitate the raising of the values and virtues of our African culture “so the minds of our girls and boys can be lifted to see beyond sports, bad music, sexual promiscuity, drugs and perhaps even tennis shoes.”

Sister Burges says, “We need to raise the bar. We, as parents, must exert a powerful influence in determining the quality of life we want for our children. We do not want to produce “functional illiterates.” We must teach our children well. It’s time to raise the standard . . . We (she and Mr. Burges) knew our children deserved a first-class education, and homeschooling was our path to take.”
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This Restoration Begins in the Homes of Our People!
Research has shown that as much as 85% of the factors for educational excellence come from outside public schools and classrooms, with the attitude and atmosphere for education in the student’s home being the greatest factor. This reality is surely related to the following findings about home-schooled students.

Home-schooled students:
• test at 84-89% nationally – over 34% above the national average — regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or family’s household income;
• typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions;
• are typically above average on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development, including peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem;
• are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members;
• are competent users of technology, and generally manage their time well;
• develop the strengths and resistance abilities that give them an unusually strong sense of self (particularly noticeable in girls);
• boys’ energetic natures and tendency to physical expression can more easily be accommodated vs. public systems’ tendency to label them ADHD or discipline problems;
• are kept safer, as they are not exposed to drugs and alcohol, or unhealthy sexual situations;
• internalize the values and beliefs of their parents at a very high rate.

These results and dynamics point to one conclusion: homeschooling works; and it works without the multiplicity of controls and accreditation standards imposed on the public schools, with parents being able to select a curriculum that matches their child’s learning style.

It Takes a “Wholistic” Village . . .
While we salute and celebrate the parents and families who have been able to analyze the educational terrain and opt for the revolutionary and liberating path of homeschooling (in its various forms), let’s not forget that there are members of our communities who need “wholistic” village assistance in order to develop the “successive stages” of consciousness, confidence and competence that this path requires.

Let’s do all we can (Kuumba) to make sure everyone understands the positives and negatives outlinedBlack homeschooling 2 here (and other places), and recognize our eager willingness to do so as a “successive (and successful) stage” of awakening. Let it be known, far and wide, that neither dollars nor degrees are the determining factors for educational excellence for our children. Let it be known, that communicating to our children in word and deed our absolute confidence in the presence of young-gifted-and-blackness within them, as the true essence of life within them, trumps all real or imagined obstacles.

Let it be known that the positive, proactive attitude, atmosphere, and examples of our hearts and homes for educational excellence is crucial for young, developing hearts and minds. When circumstances require continued use of the public system, emphasize that the heart and soul of “homeschooling” is parents and youth reading together on a regular and consistent schedule, and through conversations and discussions regarding the academic, cultural, moral and spiritual visions that they develop and monitor together. Let’s encourage families and neighbors – across town or across the street – to help each other (Ujima) to achieve the “successive stages” that this process holds.

Black homeschooling 1Then let’s work to make our respective communities wholistic villages, in which all institutions, organizations and individuals recognize themselves as part of the 85% factors for academic, cultural, moral and spiritual excellence for our children – and all others. Let’s do all we can, in every way we can, to encourage and inspire all churches, fraternities, sororities, individuals, et al, to do all they/we can to secure our liberation from “schools” that “disserve and abandon” our children, and make excellence-driven, African-centered homeschooling the means by which “Young, Gifted & Black” are with us for generations beyond number.

As we move forward in this mission, let these eternal words of wisdom inspire and empower our efforts:
“Everything that touches your life should be an instrument of your liberation
or you must throw it into the trash can of history.”
– Nana John Henrik Clarke

“He who does not cultivate his field, will die of hunger.”
-Afrikan Proverb

(Visit this site; read this article — http://www.theblackhomeschool.com/2014/01/22/six-myths-and-misunderstandings-about-home-schooling/)

Ankh, Udja, Seneb!!!

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