Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten is at it again. In the spring she claimed the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) charter school was violating separations of church and state by teaching Islam (the state disagreed, with two minor exceptions). Now she’s claiming that a new group launching three new charter schools, the Minnesota Education Trust (MET), has their own Islamic agenda. I can’t believe I’m having to write about this again.
Kersten may be raising valid points, but they’re lost in her rhetoric and lack of balance. She points out that one of MET’s first priorities is “to promote the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims and promote understanding between them,” and then asks the question, “How can an organization dedicated to promoting religion be qualified to sponsor public schools?”
Great question. How can organizations with similar religious goals like Bethel University, North Central University, Concordia University and Friends of Ascension—all sponsors of charter schools in Minnesota—be qualified to sponsor public schools?