Black homeschoolers plan microschool, if Texas OKs ESAs
In addition to Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), the proposal includes replacing the Texas STAAR testing program with another assessment, teacher pay raises and school safety programs.
In a suburb of Dallas, three black mothers -- two of them former teachers -- want to use the ESA money to create a safe, supportive microschool to serve black children's needs, reports Sneha Dey in the Texas Tribune. The three mothers are homeschooling their four young daughters together, using the public library.
The girls "get in about two hours of core instruction like reading and math, but they also draw, go on nature walks and build fairy villages with the rocks they find," Dey writes.
“As much as I would love the public school system to work for my child, it doesn’t. Am I responsible to the system or am I responsible to my child?” -- Chantel Jones-Bigby
Sharby Hunt-Hart’s daughter Lacey had frequent meltdowns when she came home from her kindergarten class, her mother told Dey. She suppressed her energy. “Schools teach kids to color inside the lines, to walk down the hall with your hands behind your back, to not to feel the pattern on the wall," said Hunt-Hart, an educator for 17 years. "They teach you not to talk and to not let your voice be loud.” Anna Sneed was a high school teacher and assistant principal. When her daughter approached school age, she realized the neighborhood school had a mediocre C rating, with lower achievement by students of color. “Becoming a mom took the rose-colored glasses off."
The mothers hope to serve more Black boys and girls -- perhaps a group of 15 -- using the model of the Black Mothers’ Forum schools in Arizona. They've talked to parents who are willing to pull their children out of public and private schools. Education savings accounts would make a microschool possible, they say.
Homeschooling increased by 50 percent in the last five years, transforming "homeschooling into a racially and ideologically diverse movement," writes Emma Camp on Reason. According to a Washington Post analysis, "homeschooled students were three-quarters white in 2019. By summer 2023, less than half were white. Homeschool parents are now roughly evenly split between conservatives and liberals, while those homeschooling before the pandemic overwhelmingly identified as Republicans."