As a parent
of children of color, reading that the state board of education here in Virginia has decided to adjust math passing rates based on race both angers and saddens me. I’m aware that the changes in our state math SOL (standards of learning) led to a huge drop in math pass rates last school year and I’m not sure if this is related. But with educational policy I feel are racist and biased being adopted, is it any wonder that those who are able to, opt out of school all together and choose to educate their own? Of course, homeschooling shouldn’t be seen as a cure-all. Reform should be, and that includes implementing policy that will help close the gap without lowered expectations. I have no solution to offer, but surely other plans can be put in place to help close the gap? Our own school district started a program in 2007 to help close the achievement gap of black boys completely in the next 7 years. It does not include expecting less from them.
I have had a kiddo or two who struggles with math and a kiddo or two who doesn’t. It depends on the year, the material, the teacher, the parents, and of course, the child. I’ve sent my kids to STEM programs, driven them to weekend tutoring sessions, done math enrichment at home, and even sent them to camps geared towards students who could use improvement. I know that part of what I have been able to do is because of privilege, but all of it has been free and based on resources I pulled locally or online. My mother was an extremely resourceful woman when it came to her children’s education, and I put the tools she gave me to good use daily. That includes passing on information to other parents who might not have it. (Tip: join your local homeschooling lists, they tend to have most info about what’s out there.) Really, it’s the least I can do to help ensure that all students have successful k-12 education.
Meanwhile in New York, collaborations are forming that might just bridge the gap. Imagine that!