August 17, 2001

Black Home Schoolers Face Off Against Public School Advocates on National TV

At 11:00 p.m. EST on August 15, Home School Legal Defense Association member Joyce Burges and her son Eric faced off against two public school advocates discussing education alternatives on Black Entertainment Television's BET Tonight. Queen Latifa was the guest-host for the show.

Joyce Burges, a soft-spoken mother of five and co-founder of the National Black Home Educators Research Association, articulately advocated and defended home schooling. She explained that she and her husband, Eric, Sr., had taken Eric out of the public school system at age 14 because of poor grades. After the Burgeses began home schooling, they saw their son's grades and leadership skills blossom and became convinced that home schooling was the best choice for all their children.

Linda Moody, president of the Washington, DC-area Parent Teachers Association and Genetha Hayes from the Unified Los Angeles Public Schools were the other two guests. They argued that public schools were going to educate the majority of America and contended that "home schooling was not for most people."

When Latifa expressed concern about the "difficulty" of home school socialization, Mrs. Burges and her son described their personal experience and the advantages of home schoolers' socialization. "Home school children learn socialization skills with all age groups in society and not just their own peer group, as is often common in a traditional school setting," Joyce Burges explained.

Burges brought up the importance of parental involvement and emphasized that home schooling is the ideal setting for parental guidance in education. "Parents are important," Moody agreed and conceded that home schooling does play an important role as an educational alternative. Hayes allowed that "schools could not teach virtue." She criticized public school parents for not doing a proper job parenting and reinforcing the schools' lesson.

"We are excited about home schooling's widening exposure among black families nationwide," said HSLDA President J. Michael Smith. "This educational alternative empowers and offers hope to all families. In fact, a recent study by the U.S. Department of Education found that 25 percent of American home schoolers are minorities. The good news about home schooling is reaching hundreds of minority families across the country."

 Other Resources

The New Pioneers: Black Home Schoolers