June 28, 2007

"Death to America Schools" Unhelpful, Finn Suggests

Asserting presidential prerogative, no doubt, Checker Finn – president of the Fordham Foundation - pens a letter to the editor of the Gadfly, the weekly newsletter of…the Fordham Foundation.

What prompted the unusual missive? A Gadfly story on religious charter schools, featuring an Islamocentric school in Minnesota.

Finn’s candor in highlighting the benefits of and strongest argument against religious charters is admirable.

Finn writes: “I continue to believe that it [religious charters] has great promise both to furnish charter pupils with some of what parents value most in private schools while affording cash-starved parochial schools a new lease on life and new ways to underwrite the education of children for whom they can do a great deal of good.”

Still, Finn notes that “one of the strongest arguments of school-choice opponents is that public funding of non-public schools will lead both to the erosion of our common culture and to the development--at taxpayers' expense--of "Klan schools," "witchcraft schools," and fundamentalist madrassas.”

What is needed, he suggests, is better marketing when it comes to promoting religious charter schools. And putting Christian charter schools front and center. “But I can't help thinking that the cause of religious charter schools would be more successfully advanced if the prototypes carried names like Martin Luther (or Martin Luther King), John Wesley, Notre Dame, and Brandeis,” he says.

Click here for the full letter.