Reading, writing and religion? Dallas-area charter schools come under fire (again).
Big Education Ape: KILLING ED: 120 American Charter Schools and One Secretive Turkish Cleric -http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/01/killing-ed-120-american-charter-schools.html
Advantage Academy is “God’s school.” The Dallas-area school puts the Bible in every subject, according to the former pastor who founded it.
That’s a problem, critics say, because Advantage Academy is a public charter school and can’t push a particular religion.
A Wisconsin-based watchdog group filed a complaint last week with the Texas Education Agency, saying it has “serious constitutional concerns” with Advantage Academy, which enrolls more than 1,800 students at four campuses - one in Dallas, two in Grand Prairie and one in Waxahachie.
“We ask that the TEA investigate Advantage Academy and take action to prevent its schools from endorsing Christianity to its students,” said the complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a nonprofit group that works to keep church and state separate.
In a statement Friday, the school said it follows the law. “Advantage Academy is neutral and does not endorse any church or religious practice,” the statement said.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation posted an excerpt of a sermon that Beck gave at a church in November. The original video of that sermon is here.
The Texas Education Agency is reviewing the complaint against Advantage Academy, agency spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said Friday.
Advantage Academy is one of Texas’ oldest charter schools, founded in 1998 by an educator and former pastor named Allen Beck. (The News wrote about the school in 2010.) It’s far from the only charter school in the Dallas area with religious ties. Turkish Muslims helped found Harmony Public Schools. Critics have accused Harmony of having ties to a Turkish imam named Fethullah Gulen - but school leaders say there’s no connection. Some other Dallas-area charter schools, including Life School andGolden Rule Charter School, were founded by pastors and have held classes in church buildings.
Charter schools can hold classes in a church. They can be run by preachers. But they can’t promote a particular religion, Culbertson said. For instance, students can read the Reading, writing and religion? Dallas-area charter schools come under fire (again). | Dallas Morning News:Big Education Ape: Texas Opens Probe Into Gulen Connection to Charter Schools - WSJ -http://bigeducationape.blogspot.com/2016/07/texas-opens-probe-into-gulen-connection.html