Thursday, September 13, 2007

Can You Teach Religion In Charter Schools? 

You bet you can. Take a look at this story from the Associated Press:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 11 (AP) — A charter school can resume teaching in Hebrew, three weeks after the lessons were halted over concerns that the Jewish faith was seeping into public classrooms, the school board voted Tuesday.

Broward County board members said that close monitoring of the country’s first Hebrew-language charter school was still necessary, but that its administrators had cleared up major concerns.

The school district will work with the school, Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood, Fla., to create training programs for teachers and board members to ensure the separation of church and state, Superintendent James Notter said. Lesson plans will be submitted monthly for district review.

The school can teach about the Jewish faith but cannot advocate it. Hebrew instruction is to resume Monday.

Ben Gamla’s roughly 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grades follow the state curriculum but also are to take a Hebrew language course. One of their core subjects - math or physical education, for example - is to be taught bilingually as well.
Here's background on the school provided by Abby Goodnough of the New York Times.

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