Saturday, July 07, 2012
Madrassas In UK Not A Model For Our Schools
A speech U.S. Rep. Andre Carson recently gave in which he says that madrassa schools, Islamic parochial schools, should be a model for how children in this country are taught sparked controversy and has made news across the country and even in Great Britain. An undercover investigative report of madrassas in the United Kingdom, where such schools have received the stamp of approval and funding from the government, found that students were regularly being beaten by their teachers, and students were taught intolerance towards all things non-Islamic. Rep. Carson insists that his comments have been taken out of context, and that he is not arguing that the teachings of the Koran should be taught in publicly-financed schools. While the video above focuses on madrassas in the U.K., there have been concerns raised that a number of charter schools operating in the U.S. with public funding are essentially madrassas where Islam is being taught in the classroom with public funding. The ACLU in Minnesota, for example, sued a now-defunct charter school that it claimed blurred the lines between education and religious instruction in violation of the Establishment Clause. In Indiana, State Superintendent Tony Bennett has approved participation by Islamic schools in the state's Choice Scholarship program, which provides vouchers to parents to offset tuition costs of sending their children to private schools. The Islamic School of Indianapolis is one such school that is now being funded with public tax dollars. All private schools approved for participation in the program are religious schools. Marion Co. Superior Court Judge Michael Keele ruled against plaintiffs who brought a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state's school voucher law because it provides indirect public funding of religious schools. Judge Keele found the law constitutional because the vouchers are given to the parents, who then have the choice of spending the money at the school of their choice, which means the religious school of your choice. The decision has been appealed to the state's Supreme Court. The Indiana Constitution (Article 1, Section 6) specifically prohibits the use of public funds for a religious institution. It reads: "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."