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Cheryl Fields-Smith

Prior to earning her doctorate from Emory University in 2004, Dr. Fields-Smith served as an elementary school teacher in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Norwalk, Connecticut. During her tenure as a teacher she taught in two magnet schools, both of which employed the Bank Street Model, which emphasizes child-centered, hands-on, experiential learning through thematic, social studies-based integrated instruction.

Dr. Fields-Smith’s research interests include family engagement and homeschooling among Black families. Her dissertation explored family engagement from the perspective of 22 Black middle class families. Later, she received a Spencer Foundation Grant to conduct a two-year study focused on homeschooling among 46 Black families. From this study Dr. Fields-Smith has published several journal articles and chapters, which among them include the first empirically-based publication to focus exclusively on Black homeschool families. Her research on homeschooling among Black families has most recently been featured in a PBS NewsHour report and the Atlantic.

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"This book expands the concept of homeplace with contemporary Black homeschooling positioned as a form of resistance among single Black mothers. Chapters explore each mother’s experience and unique context from their own perspectives in deciding to homeschool and developing their practice. It corroborates many of the issues that plague the education of Black children in America, including discipline disproportionality, frequent referrals to special education services, teachers’ low expectations, and the marginalization of Black parents as partners in traditional schools. This book demonstrates how single mothers experience the inequity in school choice policies and also provides an understanding of how single Black mothers experience home-school partnerships within traditional schools. Most importantly, this volume challenges stereotypical characterizations of who homeschools and why."

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