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CAIR Gets Failing Grades at Running Ohio Charter Schools

Taxpayers finance religious extremism and academic failure.

by
Patrick Poole

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September 1, 2008 - 12:35 am
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The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released their annual school report cards this week, and the results show that two taxpayer-financed Islamic charter schools operated by officials of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have failed miserably yet again. But protected by powerful political connections, including Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, and apparently indifferent to their exploitation of the Somali children that comprise the vast majority of their students, the Islamic extremists running the operation appear to have no fear of losing their cash cows. In fact, Ohio educrats have renewed one school’s contract after five years of complete academic failure.

The two schools, International Academy and Westside Academy, are run by a group of local Islamic leaders, including CAIR national board vice chairman Ahmad Al-Akhras, CAIR-Columbus president and CAIR-Ohio board member Abukar Arman, and Islamic Society of Greater Columbus president and imam Mouhamed Tarazi (who serves as principal of one of the schools). At one time or another, all have served on the board of the local private Islamic school in Central Ohio, Sunrise Academy.

Beginning operations in 2002, International Academy has a long track record of failure. According to the school’s most recent state report card, the school only meets two of the 19 indicators measured (one of the two indicators it met was attendance). The performance index score of 73.9 fell well short of the 100 points required (of 120 total; the state median is 96.6), but since that was slightly more than the 72.2 scored the previous school year (2006-2007) the school received a “continuous improvement” designation. Only in the Orwellian world of union-controlled, taxpayer-financed public education does this performance rate a grade of C-, thanks to some grade inflation in this year’s report cards courtesy of the ODE.

That “continuous improvement” designation notwithstanding, since International Academy opened, it has never met the state’s required “adequate yearly progress” standard and has never met more than two of the state indicators. Looking at the past three years of academic performance data, we find in four of the seven tested areas, test scores declined last year from the previous year.

The second school, Westside Academy, appears to be following in its older brother’s failing footsteps. Their state report card shows that they met state standards in one area — attendance. Across all grade levels and subjects, less than 20 percent of their students rated proficient or better. In one subject area, 3rd grade math, the school achieved zero percent proficiency. Their performance index also dropped to 56.9 last school year (again, 100 of 120 points being the state requirement), putting them in the “academic watch” category.

No doubt, officials for both schools will place the blame on their students, claiming that since many of them speak English as a second language they are at a disadvantage. But in fact, ODE excluded testing results from students who had limited English proficiency. And the school curriculum itself continues to academically disadvantage the children. Instead of focusing their efforts on helping them improve their English skills, the language emphasis at these two schools is not on English, but instead, Arabic — a foreign language to Somalis.

If there is one subject that both schools excel in, it is Islamic extremism.

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