While the “separation of Church and State” crowd has been noticeably mum on the opening of charter schools such as the Kahil Gibran Academy in Brooklyn, the efforts of other religions can still provoke their ire. “A school opening this month is named for a Jewish high priest, is directed by a rabbi, will have kosher food and will teach Hebrew,” Associated Press writer Matt Sedensky reports from Hollywood, Florida. “It’s also a public school, funded by public tax dollars and following state curriculum guidelines.”
“Ben Gamla Charter School, billed as the nation’s first publicly funded Hebrew-English school, has prompted fears of religion creeping into public schools and has even drawn criticism from groups that defend Jewish causes.” And guess who is most fearful.
“Whenever you have a public school, a public charter school, that focuses on a particular culture that has an intense religious connection, there is the risk that you will end up teaching that religion,” The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said. “It could happen because some people believe culture and religion are inseparable, or it could happen because many of the teachers and administrators are of one religion and don’t recognize the problem.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.