Muslims: 1, America: -3,000 and counting

This is utterly terrifying:

A charter school in St. Paul, Minnesota, has capitulated to Muslim parents and removed most of the art curricula common to grade school art classes.

Little Green Footballs reports:


Out the window right away went masks, puppets and that classic of elementary school art class, the self-portrait, said Sara Langworthy, an artist with ArtStart. Revamping the curriculum “definitely requires stepping outside of the normal instincts that you fall back on,” she said.

In their place came nature scenes and geometric forms and patterns, said Carol Sirrine, ArtStart’s executive director. This week, the class was cutting out shapes to make into cardboard pouches. Another project involved taking photographs and mapping the neighborhood around the school.

The conversation about what is appropriate is still open.

In a meeting this week, Langworthy asked Ahmad whether the students can do silhouettes of hands. That’s fine, he said.

This is outrageous. Today as I was walking in to tutor a student I had an overwhelming feeling that our freedoms are slowly being siphoned right from under our noses. We're all too busy and too concerned with things that do matter, but can't see that this is serious. I just hope people find the time enough to scream "foul."

I've already written a very pointed letter. I tried not to scare them off too quickly, but for Pete's sake, not allowing children to draw animals or hands even? This is not happening in my country.

Please email the school. The only address I could find was
The number to the school is (651) 645-1000.

Muzzy, Mr. Writer, we need you all to help keep this from spreading. I hate that this is happening in your backyard.

Posted by Portia at February 21, 2006 10:52 PM | TrackBack

You'd think with the ACLU's relentless pursuit of the secularization of America that they'd jump on this. It appears, however, that while the Cross is prohibited, the crescent is being promoted.

Posted by: portia'smom at February 22, 2006 12:44 AM

The answer should be fairly obvious: if Muslims object to the drawing of human images, then they should take their children out of the schools. Many Christians are home-schooling due to the liberal and weak teaching doled out by the public school system.

Posted by: MarcV at February 22, 2006 10:28 AM

I fully agree with you, however, I am flabbergasted by a public school system supported by tax dollars capitulating to a religious system.

While our boys were in public high school it never once occurred to me to storm the administration and demand they change their curricula to a Christian pov.

It appears that instead of taking their kids out of school, they have the political clout to islamize it.

Posted by: portia'smom at February 22, 2006 05:56 PM

It is dismaying at first glance, and earlier commenters are right about the "sensitivity" shown to Islam as opposed to what would be permitted regarding Christianity.

To step out onto thin ice (common to Minnesota), some mitigating circumstances: this is a charter school; enrollment is voluntary and this particular school is reportedly 70% Muslim. From a purely pedagogic standpoint, it makes sense to adapt your teaching to reach the bulk of your students. The action here isn't a mandate for the rest of the state schools. One benefit of being flexible in this instance is that by doing so the children remain in the public school where they can still be exposed to western concepts such as free speech. Given that this is Minnesota, however, don't count too heavily on that because "tolerance" by far outweighs free speech.

Would such flexibility be endorsed for a school predominately Christian? Ha! Minnesota schools are predominately Christian in makeup (Lutheran, Catholic, other) but you can't mention Christ's name. (Consistency: you can't draw Mohammed or Christ, but for different reasons). Just try and offer Intelligent Design at a charter school and you won't have to wait for the 4th of July for fireworks. Or forget ID, let's just allow people to have a Christmas program, or refer to those days off at the end of December as Christmas break (not going to happen here). That's why Minnesota has become one of the leading states in number of homeschoolers (we prefer the term "home educators") and has MACHE (Minn. Assoc. of Christian Home Educators) one of the largest and best organized groups of its kind in the country to promote curriculum, best practices and mutual support.

Of course, there are those who think the Christians should be compelled to stay in the public schools for the same assimilation of values I referenced in my 2nd paragraph. My view is my kids have learned a lot more about free speech, tolerance and even the Theory of Evolution than what is shoveled in the state school.

So, back to the Muslim-sensitive teaching: I'm more cynically amused than threatened or outraged by this action. If I get the chance (busy, busy time for me right now) I may post on this but I wanted to at least respond to your call to action here.

Posted by: Night Writer at February 23, 2006 11:29 AM

My anger over this comes from being an art teacher for 19 years to K-12 in private Christian schools, public schools and a charter school. Charter schools, at least here in sunny Ca., are privately run, but completely state financed.

Which brings us to the topic of public funding for these schools. I believe we have the largest school district here in Los Angeles and it is run by the most liberal administration known to man. There is gay pride week, classes on homosexuality, sex ed, etc., BUT with little or no consideration for the sensitivies of Christians. My two sons graduated from our local public high school and were given the choice to opt-out if any offensive materials were being taught; sit it out, go to the library, the office, etc., but the materials would be taught regardless. (I must note that neither son ever needed to use this option as no offensive materials were taught in any of their classes.)

Yes, I can understand that the majority of kids being Muslim would present a problem, but only if the responsibility of public education was to reinforce Islamic beliefs. That's not the function of public schools. To stop teaching kids how to draw animals or the human form because muslims fear it would lead to idolatry is ludicrous. It also is that slippery slope of what else will be eliminated or added in deference to Islam, and it sets a precedent for other religions to hand in their grocery list in other schools.

The ACLU has been a very huge presence here in Los Angeles from defending kids' rights to wear outrageous tee shirts, or hardly any shirts, to denying the right of teaching ID or anything remotely 'creation' oriented, to trying to stop Bible study groups on campus (which they didn't win)...all that to say, it has been an uphill battle for Christians to be heard in any venue in public education, but for the schools to now bend over backwards to accomodate Islam is what has gotten my blood pressure up since reading this.

I realize expecting our secular educational system to be even-handed with only one standard for all is obviously going to lead to disappointment, but this pushed my button as an art teacher.

Posted by: portia'smom at February 23, 2006 01:20 PM

P.S. Oops, I took a right turn on the public funding paragraph and didn't finish the thought; any tax money that funds a curriculum that is in any way tied to a religion has always been verboten by the ACLU. So you can imagine how surprised I was to hear of this and not see the ACLU marching in to stop it.

(Taking deep breaths) I'm better now. Time to go to work and teach kids how to draw animals and the human figure! :)

Posted by: portia'smom at February 23, 2006 01:45 PM

God bless!

Posted by: Night Writer at February 23, 2006 03:22 PM