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Friday, April 11, 2008

Not Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

KSTP.com - Charter school makes changes after Islamic accusation:
"'Frankly I actually don't know how to work that flagpole. For five years it has sat empty,' he said."
I have to admit this statement raised eyebrows for me.
My father sells flagpoles and I can tell you ... if you can pull a rope, you can work a flag pole.

Unless he meant that he didn't know how to fold and unfurl the flag - that takes a bit of understanding. But even then if a fifth grade boy scout or a second grade brownie can learn to do it, an adult certainly could.

I'm a tad shocked that not a single person in the school knew how to do it, or that they didn't think about contacting a local VFW or Reserve group, or even checking for a scout in the school to see if someone could show them how to do it.
If it weren't the law I wouldn't fuss but it is the law. In fact the federal law says that any assembly of people needs to display the American flag (it doesn't however specify size, but perhaps the state law does for businesses & schools).

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where flag-raising was a daily duty - we flew the flag that was draped over my uncle's coffin (it was given to my grandmother by his ex-wife after the funeral and my mother inherited it from her). We also had a nationality flag which my parent flew as well so we were able to learn about flag hierarchy as well -- say Dad have I ever thanked you for this valuable lesson?? If not -- THANKS!
"...Minnesota state law requires all public schools to fly the American flag while school is in session. Even though TIZA Academy raised the flag on Thursday, its lawyers insisted the flag law didn’t apply to charter schools...."
Wow, what a statement. Charter schools are public schools - so how is it that the lawyer doesn't get that nuance? Public is public. They are listed in the district as a public school - they are public.
If they wanted an exception to the rule, then they should have either (a)filed papers to be considered private or (b)filed papers for a clarification or exemption from the law. A good lawyer should have known that - but then they do get paid the big bucks to split hairs, don't they?
"...."At the end of the day, 'Islamic studies' was written on the board and from my knowledge, you're not allowed to have any religious studies during school and they said they were studying the Koran," Getz said....."
Well, if its being written at the end of the day and only applies to those kids who are staying afterwards, its not so bad - personally I would think they would wait until after the non-participating students left to cut any ambiguity, but that's just me. But if they are studying the Koran during the day then yeah, that's an issue. But it does sound as if it only applies to kids in the after school program.
"...5 EYEWITNESS NEWS contacted a parent who has two children at TIZA Academy. They said their children were excelling in science and mathematics and have never been forced to participate in Islamic practices...."
This is very good to hear - I wonder why KSTP didn't look for a parent to speak to for the first story as well? Maybe they got the name from the school after the initial story - or perhaps even the parents contacted the station after hearing the first story.
I'm so glad they clarified this since the original story made it sound as if all students had to go to the prayer assembly the week that the substitute teacher was there.
I would be interested in knowing what happened with the chidren who didn't wish to participate ... did they then stay in the room and continue studying or were they asked to attend the assembly w/0 praying? I would take a forced attendance as a problem, because it was a religious assembly.

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