How much religion can a public charter school teach? Minnesota Charter School Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy Threatens Law Suit

We miss Minnesota this time of year, especially when we hear that the State Fair opened to record crowds.

There are few events that we have attended anywhere that are quite as vivid as that great Minnesota get-together.

In other Minnesota news, the great Minnesota charter school get-together seems a tad less exemplary of comity and understanding.

The Minnesota Charter School Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy has threatened a law suit.

The question at issue there is one that is watched by many in the Jewish community and in other religious groups.

Simply put: How much religion can a public charter school teach?

Unfortunately, the way this Minnesota instance is framed, it looks like this school is circling its wagons against a perceived investigative onslaught into misuse of funds.

It would be good to litigate this whole subject thoroughly so that religiously sponsored public charter schools can operate openly according to the law within known and sanctioned parameters.

Public interest groups and religious interest groups should join forces here to bring forward a broad-based case on the merits and set some precedents for those parameters. Religious-sponsored public charter schools in the rest of the nation need to be able to operate without fear of litigious disruptions and intrusive investigations.
Muslim school threatens to sue Dept. of Education

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota charter school that educates Muslim students is threatening to sue the Minnesota Department of Education for defamation.

A lawyer for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy alleges in a letter to Education Commissioner Alice Seagren that her deputy commissioner told a Star Tribune reporter this month that the department is investigating lease aid payments from the state to the school. Lawyer Erick Kaardal says no one at the school itself was notified of an investigation.

State aid to the school, which has sites in Blaine and Inver Grove Heights, has come under scrutiny after allegations it allowed TiZA to use taxpayer money to illegally promote religion.

Education Department spokeswoman Christine Dufour says the department will not respond because officials have not yet seen the letter and no lawsuit has yet been filed.

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