Have you ever wondered why public school enrollment among whites is gradually decreasing in our area?
How did Ouachita High School, which was formerly a predominately white school with only a small percentage of blacks, become predominately black?
How did Ouachita Jr. High, once an overwhelmingly white school become predominately Black?
How is it that Neville, Sallie Humble, Cypress Point and other schools that were once predominately white, show a continued increase in the percentage of black students?
Where are all of the students going?
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the term “white flight” described a mass exodus of white residents in South Monroe who formed private schools to avoid racial integration. It was first felt at Wossman, Minnie Ruffin, Clara Hall and Jefferson Jr. High Schools, which were once all-white schools.
The whites in the neighborhood sold their houses and moved, and many of those who stayed withdrew their children from the public schools and enrolled them in private schools. Some even started their own schools. A private white flight school was built on Winnsboro Road and operated for many years. That resulted in a neighborhood demographic change. All of the schools became predominately black.
Fast forward 40 years and there is another flight happening in our area, but the flight doesn’t appear to be related to desegregation, it’s a resistance to public education as a whole.
Many of the white students who are leaving the public school system are resorting to home schools and private schools because they are frustrated with the public school system’s politics, curriculum, and insensitivity to the needs of students.
It’s not just a few students, there are hundreds of students, mostly white, who no longer attend public schools but who are home-schooled.
They don’t need a principal, supervisors, testing coordinators, superintendents, school boards, school buses or many of the other needs associated with traditional schools. What they do need are computers, books, teachers and a supportive network.
The largest network in this area is the Northeast Louisiana Christian Home School Association. It is based in West Monroe and is the brainchild of the Cedar Crest Baptist Church congregation. The association boasts the involvement of over 800 students from around the area that are sharing resources and teaching children in ways they feel reflect Biblical standards without state interference.
While it is predominately white, there are black students in the network; it has nothing to do with racial issues, it has more to do with total control over what students learn without dictates from the State Department of Education.
Home-schooled students have no LEAP exams, school test scores, common core curriculum, or state mandates. State laws allow home-school students to participate in public school athletic teams, bands and other extracurricular activities even though they are instructed at home.
The most important thing to many home-school groups is the ability to teach the Christian religion, and traditional moral values. The network can receive grants, donations and other helps from foundations and agencies it chooses to accept.
The Association has a basketball league, which plays in the Saul Adler Recreation Center on a regular basis with association based competitions.
The African-American community is getting left behind. Homeschooling is a trend that is spreading across the nation as parents seize control of the education of their children and free themselves from the constraints of the public system.
We applaud the efforts of the Cedar Crest Baptist Church to take control of the educational process and put God back into the education of our young.
Our community needs to take note. Those who care must do something different or they will get the same results.
Anything that goes through the state, K12, Charter Schools or Public Schools, is controlled by rules outside of parents control. Corrupt public officials can stamp out these efforts with a single vote and don’t have to give a reason why.
There has to be a way that our children can be taught the five W’s: Well Dressed, Well Spoken, Well Read, Well Traveled and Well Disciplined.
Maybe joining a home-school network or starting a new one is avenue worthy of exploration.