J. Bristol: Against the proposed charter school

I am deeply suspicious of the ulterior motives of the group proposing the Lewiston-Auburn Academy Charter School.

At the public hearing, which I attended and at which I spoke, both Twin City school department superintendents testified about misrepresentations in the school's application to the Maine Charter School Commission. The Lewiston School Board chairman noted that no community people were there in support. The mayors of both cities have come out against the school.

I spoke and warned about taqiyya, the Islamic practice of deceit being allowed, even mandated, in the Qur'an if it is necessary to advance Islam.

There are published reports that the Pioneer School in Massachusetts, which the proposed school is modeled after, has ties to the Gulen network, which is led by Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher Fethullah Gulen. Although members of the proposed school's board of governors denied that, they did say they are "inspired" by Gulen.

That's troubling to me.

The public knows little about Islam and Gulen, and there are questions about the Pioneer School's finances and of visas for the teachers there.

The whole Gulen movement is secretive, according to a "60 Minutes" report in May 2012. Information available online paints a potentially terrifying scenario of cultural jihad, metastasizing into the fabric of our society.

Charter schools use taxpayer dollars at a much higher cost per student. Lewiston-Auburn may well be served by a charter school, but not this one.

It will be up to the public to provide the Maine Charter School Commission with input.

Jared Bristol, Hebron

Editor's note: Public comment can be submitted to Bob Kautz, executive director of the Maine Charter School Commission, at MCSC@maine.gov. The commission is scheduled to vote on the L-A proposal and two other proposals on March 3. For more information, go to: http://www.maine.gov/csc/

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Charter schools

Our early founders wanted a public school system because they felt that an educated plebeiate was necessary to the survival of democracy. The European countries they came from had an educated elite and illiterate commoners. They did not want that for us. The charter school movement is an attempt to go back to the European system. It wants to educate an elite and leave the rest in illiteracy or substandard education. I see this not only as a threat to the public school system but to democracy itself. What we need in this country is opportunity for all citizens


I am opposed to any "public" institution ...

... that is religious, in general or particular. That said ...

When I went to public HS here in Maine, there were elective courses in comparative religion. Imagine! Kids learning about all major religions. Of course, this was back in the dark ages when schools taught kids how to think, not what to think.

Reading some comments lately, one might believe it is the aim of public schools today to teach kids not to think.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Religion was taught in what Public School in Maine Mike

"The Bible may be taught in a school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document. "

"Teaching religion" amounts to religious indoctrination and practice and is clearly prohibited in public schools. A public school curriculum may not be devotional or doctrinal. Nor may it have the effect of promoting or inhibiting religion.


Large difference between the two..taught kids how to think, not what to think.
Like Intelligence Design, or Creationism masked as how?

That is why there are many others that have freedom of Religious colleges for learning about religions, but the bulk "Kids learning about all major religions", of those many, are not taught in schools.


Cony HS and UofM, to name just two.

More from yet another right-wing, extremist organization, the ACLU.

Joint Statement of Current Law on Religion in the Public Schools

5. Students may be taught about religion, but public schools may not teach religion. As the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said, "[i]t might well be said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparative religion, or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization." It would be difficult to teach art, music, literature and most social studies without considering religious influences.

6. These same rules apply to the recurring controversy surrounding theories of evolution. Schools may teach about explanations of life on earth, including religious ones (such as "creationism"), in comparative religion or social studies classes.


Clean off your glasses.

I wrote comparative religion. Here's an excerpt from a piece in that vicious, right-wing, extremist, ideological rag USA Today:

It's time to teach religion in schools

The overwhelming majority (89%) of the U.S. adults surveyed know that the Supreme Court has forbidden public school teachers from leading their students in prayer, but less than a quarter (23%) know that Supreme Court rulings allow teachers to read from the Bible as literature and just over a third (36%) know that public schools can lawfully teach comparative religion courses.

As the numbers indicate, the only people who think teaching comparative religion is religious indoctrination are those who have to look up the meaning "comparative".

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Let me ask again

Where in Maine schools did you have elective courses in comparative religion. Religion was not a course>...

"When I went to public HS here in Maine, there were elective courses in comparative religion. "?????


See above.

Cony HS in Augusta. University of Maine, various campuses.

Cony has likely joined most other high schools and dropped anything even hinting at religion. Not because of some misinterpretation of the Constitution, but for fear of the vocal minority of liberal anti-religion zealots.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Going to the source is direct on true answers..Truth shall set ;

you free...
I find it awkward that a State Capitol school would teach region and in Lewiston it wasn't ....

Just so we can clear this up, Mike what year did you graduate?

sharon.philbrook@augustaschools.org Cony HS..
Augusta Schools
60 Pierce Dr, Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 626-2460

I sent a request for curriculum about Religious teachings at Cony and if at ANY year in Cony's history, it was teaching religion or comparative religion.

Or was it to avoid in your projection; for fear of the vocal minority of liberal anti-religion zealots.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture


I think you had no clue then and now, between teaching the Bible as history and difference teaching religion, you assumed it as both...

"fear of the vocal minority of liberal anti-religion zealots." LOL " keep that tin foil hat Mike"

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Each has its own domain

Charter schools or public schools are for education for the teachings of reading, writing and arithmetic...
ALL and any Religion and teachings of one god or many or none, belong in your church, or religious structures, not in any mixed bag of the public's domains or of the public's monies...
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution. "Not God"....
as written in part in the 1st Amendment;
prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion;

He also wrote;
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

Separation of Church and State enables the "Pursuit of happiness for ALL".....same should stand about schools....


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