Some black parents say distance education eases racism

Chicago (AP) —Before the school closed during the pandemic, Ayaana Johnson was worried every time she dropped her daughters into school.

Johnson, a black woman, says that racism is widespread, mainly in the white town of Georgia. At her daughter’s school, one student once used a racial slur and told another child he wasn’t playing with “brown people.” She says teachers quickly punish and rebuke black children, and the Ku Klux Klan flyer is in the mailbox.

“I knew from pregnancy that this would have to be dealt with,” she said. “Because this is the kind of area we live in, you can imagine that you will always feel that you are protecting your child.”

As schools reopened nationwide, black students were less likely to enroll in face-to-face learning than white students. This tends to be due to factors such as concerns about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the color community and lack of trust in schools. There are many colored students in the city who are well equipped to keep their children safe and the reopening of classrooms is delayed.

However, many black parents find another advantage in distance learning. It is better protection for children from racism in the classroom.

“We feel safer because they are at home,” said Johnson, who had two young daughters at home, even though face-to-face learning options were available. Told.

White students are much more likely to return to the classroom, with 52% of white fourth graders receiving full-time direct instruction in February, the latest month of the Biden administration’s findings. In contrast, Less than one-third of black and Hispanic fourth graders He returned to school full-time with only 15% of Asian-American students.

Even before the pandemic, racially hostile environmental concerns contributed to many black parents turning to homeschooling, said Khadijah Ali-Coleman, co-director of Black Family Homeschool Educators and Scholars. Stated. since then, Homeschooling surge Among black families.

“Racism at school plays a huge role in choosing a family to do homeschooling,” said Ali Coleman. “The racism is that teachers who criminalize every act do not recognize how the curriculum excludes the black experience, give black children the same opportunities as white children, etc. It can appear in many ways. “

Ali-Coleman chose homeschooling for his daughter, partly because of racism at school. Distance education is different from homeschooling, but we understand that switching to distance education will empower black parents and allow them to monitor the racism their children are facing. She said.

Many distance learning parents have also sought advice from her after seeing the racism faced by their children for the first time.

“I think this was amazing for many parents,” she said. “They finally got to know what was happening in the classrooms of black and brown students. I think a lot of people are disappointed.”

Distance learning also puts you in a better position for parents to intervene when needed.

Erica Alcox, a 15-year-old first-year high school mother in Atlanta, said, “When they’re in school, they either dig up or have no idea what they’re doing unless they tell you. I can’t connect. ” “Distance education allows us to look into the classroom. It puts more power back into our hands.”

Alcox, who has been a teacher since 1998, said his son felt safe at home. There is less need to worry about bullying how schools crack down on black children. She also said that distance learning can provide teachers with the opportunity to learn from their parents.

“As a teacher, I welcome this opportunity for my parents to be more involved and hold me accountable if necessary,” she said.

Many parents also say they feel they have more control over what their children learn. Many schools largely ignore or ignore black history, culture, and voice, but distance learning gives parents a better understanding of what is missing.

Johnson does this through efforts like African dance lessons in a socially distant backyard. Tanya Hayles, founder of Black Moms Connection, an online network of more than 16,000 black mothers with branches in North America and Asia, said she would definitely monitor Black History Month lessons to fill the press gap.

Hales said he was aware of the controversy among members that distance education helped black mothers better protect their children from racism.

Hales, the mother of her eight-year-old son who lives in Toronto, has benefited from distance learning in her life. Most days she watches her son and the classroom at the table next to him. There are concerns about the lack of diversity between students and staff in wealthy, predominantly white schools for children.

“When your child enters the school system, you are no longer just a parent,” she said. “You are an advocate, a detective, a cheerleader, you do a lot, and in a way, distance learning makes it easier.”