MN: Letter Writers Clarify Situation at Academy


Letters to the editor for Tuesday, April 15

High achievement

I have worked at Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) for three years, and as a lead teacher I am responsible for helping to implement the teacher-pay incentive program and curriculum. I am writing to correct misconceptions created by a substitute teacher's aide who worked at the school for one day. (It is interesting that this sub also happens to be a Republican Party activist.)

I am often in classrooms observing teachers and modeling instructional strategies. I have never witnessed any religious instruction during school or any pressure to adhere to particular religious beliefs. In fact, I am a Christian and have always felt completely welcome at TIZA. Why would the school hire a Christian to implement curriculum if it were indoctrinating students in Islam?

I have witnessed excellent teachers from different religious and cultural backgrounds focused on improving instruction and student achievement. That's why student achievement is so high.

WENDY SWANSON-CHOI, EAGAN

Compliance with law

After hearing the controversy over TIZA and the talk of separation of church and state, I did something that I had not done for a while: I re-read the constitution of the United States of America. There I found very clearly stated: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

So it seems that by neither forcing nor prohibiting students to perform their daily prayers, TIZA actually conforms to the Constitution. Preventing students from praying would be "prohibiting the free exercise" of a religion and a violation of our great nation's Constitution.

TAM SAIDI, MINNEAPOLIS

 


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