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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brooklyn Madrassa? Brown v. Education says NO

We can debate the merits and flaws of Brooklyn's proposed "Khalil Gibran International Academy" as Daniel Pipes recently did in "A Madrassa Grows in Brooklyn, (April 25, 2007, http://www.frontpagemag.com/) forever. One thing, though will not change. An Arab-specific public school is unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education, 1954.

The High Court of these United States agonized over the issue of separate or parallel education paths based upon ethnicity in the famous and signature case on racial discrimination, Brown v. Board of Education. You might say that this has no bearing; we are not forcing Arabs into this school. But the court in Brown wasn't just ruling on race or ethnicity. The Supreme Court told us what American education cannot be. It cannot be separate. We are not about differences. America sublimates the culturally specific in favor of the culture of political equality. Creating and fostering apartheid, or multi-culturalism, is essentially un-American. Chief Justice Earl Warren, speaking for the Court: "Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Further, Warren writes that the issues isn't even about race. "We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education." The discussion is about the purpose of public education, where America's children learn what it is to be an American citizen. Warren: "Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment." Cultural values, not "multi-cultural" values, is what the Supreme Court is concerned with.

"This appears to be a marvelous idea," wrote Mr. Pipes in his http://www.frontpagemag.com/ article, "for New York and the country need native-born Arabic speakers. They have a role in the military, diplomacy, intelligence, the courts, the press, the academy, and many other institutions — and teaching languages to the young is the ideal route to polyglotism. As someone who spent years learning Arabic, I am enthusiastic in principle about the idea of this school, one of the first of its kind in the United States. "In practice, however, I strongly oppose the KGIA and predict that its establishment will generate serious problems. I say this because Arabic-language instruction is inevitably laden with pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage."
***
Mr. Pipes concerns are highlights and tribute to the Supreme Court's wisdom of a half-century ago. This proposed Brooklyn public Madrassa is the twisted brainchild of multi-culturally driven Education administrators who have mislaid the purpose of public education in the United States of America. The purpose is to bring us together, to burnish away our seams and make clear our responsibilities as citizens. Public education is also intended to assert the American culture of political equality and integration.
One has to wonder how these New York "Educators" could have overlooked the importance of integration in making this discussion. Our courts wrestled with the notion of parallel societies for nearly a century after the Civil War. Brown v. Education put all such notions to rest, once and for all; it considered the viability of multi-culturism 1954, and thoroughly rejected it. Nor did the High Court solely concern itself with issues of Blacks (Gong Lum v. Rice, 275 U.S. 78) in its watershed and levelling decision. Again, Chief Justice Warren:
"We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does."
Should such a case come before them again, and it might be one over the KGIA, I'm sure they will reject it anew.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch said...

And not only the issue of integration--which is a good point--but also the matter of the inextricable ties of "Arab only" with Islam itself.

Would any such taxpayer-funded school for Jews or Christians receive such consideration? I think not!

BTW, I've heard that enrolling in the school isn't happening. Hmmmm....

7:37 AM  
Blogger Yankee Doodle said...

Good post, EyesOnly, except that you miss the point:

In recent decades, Constitutional Law is to the good guys what friction is in physics: it can only work against you.

;)

7:33 PM  
Blogger Rev. Jim Sutter said...

What then are we to do with all the taxpayer supported Catholic, Jewish, Hindu and Protestant schools? The Supreme Court, in 2002, upheld the use of taxpayer funded vouchers to fund these schools, thereby putting their stamp of approval on the schools themselves. If you want to deny Muslims or Arabs their own school, then we must be equal and deny Catholics, Jews, Protestants and Hindus their own schools, too.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Rev. Jim Sutter said...

In learning more about the KGIA, they are a school for students of any and all races and faiths, so there is no segregation. They will include secular courses on Arabic and Arab culture, which is exactly what the President, Congress and the military have been calling for - there is an appalling lack of Americans with any familiarity of the language or the culture. The school is monitored by the BOE, must meet all state requirements, and must avoid politcs and religion to stay open, according to the BOE.

It is far from the only specialty school in NY, there are also schools with an emphasis on Russia, Japan, Korea, and France. There are also NY schools that specialize in the arts, and in the sciences. These have been available in the NY School system for close to 50 years now without any objection from the Supremes.

8:15 PM  

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