Across the country, states including Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee have restricted or banned discussions of race and bias in K-12 classrooms. In many parts of the country, books that deal with slavery, or even topics of race and inclusion, are being banned from school libraries.
For some Black parents, enough is enough. As the climate for discussing culture in schools has gotten more politicized, some are opting to home school or to seek out private schools that have an Afrocentric curriculum and that encourage discussions of identity.
As reported by the Associated Press, Black student enrollment for pre-K through 12th grades have declined in the U.S. every year since 2007.
The AP's story focuses on Black parents in Georgia who have decided to enroll their children in schools such as Kilombo Academic & Cultural Institute, which teaches Black heritage in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta. All 53 students at the K-8 private school and its teachers identify as Black or biracial, and the school teaches history and culture from Africa as well as Black America. Some of the students at the private school have parents who teach at public schools.
Mary Hooks, a woman whose daughter attends the school, told the AP, "This country is signaling to us that we have no place here. It also raises a smoke signal for people to come home to the places where we can be nourished."
For parents who either can't afford private school or are looking for other options, The Dallas Morning News points to a couple in Plano, Texas, that chose to put kids in a school that had a diverse student base and they got involved with the district's inclusion efforts. The parents have found themselves caught in battles over school books, diversity policies and the state of Texas continuing to push laws that limit discussions of race, gender, and diversity issues in classrooms.
Michael Cook, who has three kids in Plano-area schools, has gotten more involved in school governance, attending board meetings regularly. He plans to run for a trustee seat this year. Cook said, "I tell my kids all the time, if you don’t like something, change it.”