Thursday, March 20, 2008

New School in the Neighborhood

I was flipping through the local paper this evening and found an article I thought I would share. There is a new charter school opening up in Atlanta that I am thinking of enrolling my daughter. The school, The Academy of St. Urban, is a non-denominational Christian school. In addition to the curriculum required by the State of Georgia, there are classes on the Bible and Christian history, as well as a "rigorous Latin program." The school is housed in the same building with the Catholic Society of Georgia, has a cathedral attached to it, and the Christian faith plays a very central role in the school. It is named for Pope Urban II, who was the Pope at the time of the First Crusade.

The school is very proud of the core Christian values taught at the school. Another selling point is that it is also a charter school. That means that it receives tax payer funding. According to the paper, in the 2006 to 2007 school year, The Academy of St. Urban received $65,260 from the state. I get the financial benefit of sending my daughter to a public school, with the education of a private school. What could be better?

It's too bad this school doesn't really exist. Well, at least not how I described it here. In fact, the above is based on an article by Robert Spencer discussing a new Islamic charter school in Minnesota. The K-8 school, Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, has two campuses in Minnesota, is housed in the same building as the Muslim American Society, and has a mosque attached to it. The school offers a "rigorous Arabic language program", a carpeted space for prayer, and serves halal food. The charter school is considered a Minnesota charter school and really did receive $65,260 from Minnesota tax payers in the 2006 to 2007 school year.

If you're still not at least a little uneasy, the Muslim American Society has documented ties to foreign terrorist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2006, during the "Flying Imams" episode, a number of people pointed out ties between prominent members of the Muslim American Society and Hezbollah and Hamas. And the St. Urban reference wasn't random either. Tarek ibn Ziyad is most famous for conquering what would become Spain in the year 711.

I am pretty sure the ACLU would be upset about my fictional school. Robert Spencer points out they haven't made a peep about the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy…


Anonymous said...

If the school was as Andy (who was paraphrasing other articles, I discovered) described, then this would be a clear-cut case of wrong on the part of Minnesota.

But much of what Andy claimed is not true. The school does not teach religion during school hours. It is not a religious school. It is a charter school designed for the many immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East, most of whom are Muslim.

I do believe there are some fuzzy boundaries here. And I might end up (after reading more than a couple of articles and websites) agreeing with Andy that the public funding is a mistake, or that the curriculum should be changed. But what Andy is doing here is what the right wing keeps doing over and over: taking a case that demands insight, careful thought, and understanding and instead turning it into an opportunity for outrage and a claim of victimhood on the part of the dominant culture.

Andy D said...

My point was two fold. First, I am very suspicious of this school because of it's ties to the MAS. Second, if a school was set up the same way but taught Christianity, I am quite sure there would be outrage by many left wing groups. As it is, those same groups that demand "separation of church and state" seem to be o.k. if the faith isn't Christianity.