Controversy over charter schools has erupted in two states recently, with claims being made that schools in
Charter schools are publicly funded and are considered part of the public school system. They are exempt from some of the regulations that public schools must meet and are often started by community groups to explore educational alternatives. However, they may not teach religion.
The Idaho Public Charter Commission has told Isaac Moffett, founder of
Moffett has said he does not agree with the major educational philosophies of today. According to an article in The
In addition, “kids will learn about Native Americans,” Moffett told the newspaper, but only because “you can’t understand why they were conquered so easily without understanding their culture.”
Moffett has based his curriculum not just on the Christian prep school in
After the Charter Commission ruled against the school, the Alliance Defense Fund, a Religious Right legal group, filed a lawsuit arguing that the school’s rights are being violated.
Chas Anderson, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that officials are examining Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy’s use of “lease aid” grants, money given to help charter schools find space.
“If it is subsidizing a mosque, in our view that would be a violation of state and federal law,”
The Islamic academy has received $2.2 million in lease aid since 2003. It leases space from two companies owned by a mosque in
Academy officials say there are prayer rooms at both schools but argue they are there to accommodate students’ religious needs.
The inquiry came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota brought the matter to light.