An article by Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology Mahala Stewart was recently published in the journal Sociology of Race & Ethnicity. “Pushed or Pulled Out? The Racialization of School Choice in Black and White Mothers’ (Home) Schooling Decisions for Their Children” presents the results of Stewart’s research on the influence of race on mothers’ decisions about whether or not to homeschool their children.

The study drew on interviews with 67 middle-class black and white mothers in a northeastern metropolitan area – half of them chose to homeschool and half chose to enroll their children in conventional school.

Stewart found that the mothers’ schooling decisions were based on their experiences with racial hierarchies in schools. She said that “black mothers respond to a push out of conventional schools on the basis of their children’s experiences of racial discrimination,” while “white mothers respond to a pull out of conventional schools to individualize their children’s academic programs.”

These findings “underscore how homeschooling, often assumed to be race neutral, is racialized in ways that reproduce inequalities under school choice and appears to redress discrimination in schools,” Stewart noted.

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