Charter schools test church and state boundary

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  • nhsaint PETERBOROUGH, NH
    March 10, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    As the parent of three children who attended (independent) Waldorf schools from kindergarten through eighth grade, and a public school educator of many years, I can attest that the Waldorf education that my children received was neither strange nor in any way biased. My children had a rich cultural education in a integrated arts-based curriculum strongly driven by developmentally appropriate practices. When they reached high school , all three were top students in public schools, despite their unfamiliarity with mainstream teaching and learning. As adults, they are broad-minded, community-minded,great parents and independent thinkers.

    In Waldorf school, they learned to read Hebrew while studying about the Torah, to recite verses in Arabic from the Koran while studying the history of mathematics, to speak poetry in Greek while studying the Greek gods, to do Gregorian chants while studying the Middle Ages. They studied German and French, kindergarten-8th. They payed musical instruments beginning in first grade. They painted, sculpted, carved wood, designed beautiful geometric designs, and designed science fair experiments. They built real buildings from scratch for a math unit, and gardened while learning about health.
    They developed a work ethic and learned respect for all. An excellent education!

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    June 26, 2012 2:45 p.m.

    It saves money to teach English, History, Science, Sociology, and Philosophy all from the same little black book, I can't understand why America is falling behind.

  • Advocate of school choice Monsey, NY
    June 15, 2012 4:50 a.m.

    There are also charter schools run by Catholic organizations in Washington, D.C., many of which were previously Catholic schools in the private sector. They had to remove all explicit references to religion to qualify as charters, of course.

    In the end, it cannot matter who runs a school -- government agencies are surely not the ideal choice for this -- but how the school is run. A violation of the Establishment Clause only exists if the education itself contains religious components.

    This was also the substance of the Appeal Court ruling in the Waldorf case. That ruling was not based on a "narrow technicality", as the author of the article claims, but on the determination that not a single shred of evidence had been offered that the education contained religious components: a ruling that goes to the heart of what we mean by the separation of church and state.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    June 14, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    Being libertarian, I believe that ideally government shouldn't be involved in education, but having to face the current reality, let's discuss this logically.

    Is the purpose of the taxes collected for the education of children or to be a jobs program for teachers and educrats? If it's the former, there is no reason to disallow vouchers or charter schools as long as the schools educate kids to perform at the same level that the kids in public schools perform. If the school does so, then the state is getting their money's worth and any instruction in religion or other subjects not mandated by the state are being paid for by the profits made by the school. The state isn't suporting/paying for religion. It's paying the going rate for the education that the school is documenting that it provides.

    This gives parents greater choice in the education of their kids.

    Everybody wins...except the whiners at the NEA.

  • brs27 Beaver, UT
    June 14, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    Without commenting on the effectiveness of charter schools in general (they vary tremendously), or these Waldorf ones in particular (seem to be a funny mix of innovative and wierd); how can this be defined as a separation of Church and State issue? Education is not, or at least should not be, an extention of the State. I think we simply see it this way, and the State certainly does, because education has been largly monopolized by the State for so long. To my knowledge, and please tell me if I'm wrong, controlling the dissemination of education is not a Constitutionally mandated responsibility of government. Ultimately, beyond a basic societal standard of learning shouldn't higher education and/or trade or professional organizations set the standards and requirements for joining their ranks? At what point did we deviate to the philosophy that says government is best suited to determine what an effective and complete education is? And how's that working out for us? Seems to me we could do better...

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    June 14, 2012 2:16 a.m.

    These would be a big hit here in Utah where parents flock like lemmings to whatever charter school pops up. It is incredible to watch. The charter by me averages 5% LESS on the CRT tests than the local elementary school yet parents continue to tell me what a great job the charter is doing. Never mind that the teachers are all inexperienced and leave after a year or two of putting up with the charter board.

    Parents do a little research. There are some good charters but there are also a LOT of bad ones. Different doesn't always mean better.