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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Education Minnesota

Saturdays St Paul Pioneer Press had an intesting article about the school system that everyone needs to read. It is about how one school in St Paul handled cultural conflict.

Executive Director Bill Wilson said he had concerns for some time about how to reconcile the school's art curriculum with the views of Muslim families, but the departure of the art teacher at the end of last school year gave him a window to act.

This fall, he hired ArtStart, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, to offer more options for about 150 kindergartners through second-graders, including visual arts and drumming. But parents were still upset that their children were drawing figures, Wilson said, and some pulled their children out of art class altogether.

Wilson then sat down with teacher and parent liaison Abdirahman Sheikh Omar Ahmad, who also is the imam at an Islamic center in Minneapolis, to work with ArtStart in determining how to meet state standards without running afoul of Muslim doctrine.

Pardon me?????? Since when did religious leaders have any say in what was taught in ANY school (other than a religious school)? And where are those very vocal advocates of "separation of church and state" that are screaming bloody murder any time a Christian parent tries to have a say in what their children are and are not taught (like with evolution)? Where are the advocates of diversity going to say when the Imam decides that (for example) GLBT issues are not to be taught because they "offend" Islam? Where does this stop?

Dave over at Downing World had a post on this and he raises a good point. He points out that educators and artists seem to have no problems with insulting Christians and Jews as often as possible, but two wrongs do not make a right. Our education system should be sensitive to what a parent is teaching their children at home (vis a vis religion) but if it is going to cater to one faith's religious beliefs then it needs to cater to all of them. You can not cater to just one because that religion happens to be the "politically-correct flavor of the day".


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