We Don’t Need Another Brick in the Wall

Sorry if its choppy, I’m taking a few minutes out of work to write this. I got to thinking today about raising children in the US and, more importantly, religious children in the US. I am, of course, thinking within the context of raising my children Muslim but this could be applied to anyone who strictly adheres to a conservative religion (say Catholocism or Mormonism as examples) or lifestyle (like “green,” “vegan,” or “earth-friendly” as another.) Its hard to do when sending your children to public schools, so what are our choices?

I know many Muslim moms in the Twin Cities who feel that they have no alternative choice but to home-school their children which takes a lot of time and energy. I’m not the home-schooling type (but I give mad props to those moms who are) so this obviously is not a viable option for me. What can I do?

There is a charter school, (TIZA) that made some news this past year when they were accused of using state money to push and Islamic agenda. Of course that wasn’t true as an audit of the school was done and found no wrong-doing on their behalf (suck it Katherine Kersten) as the USA Today published, “The curriculum at a charter school catering to Muslims complies with federal and state law, the state Education Department said Monday. . .”

However while they are predominantly Muslim students and teachers and offer Islamic after-school programs and hold prayer times during the week, it is not a Muslim school. I would consider sending my children there, but aren’t there any other options? And what about High School? TIZA currently only teaches k-8.

So I took a second (which has now turned into way too much time away from work) to see what else is available and found the Al-Amal School in Fridley, the only Islamic school in Minnesota. Sure its tuition-based, but its accredited and according to their website:

  • Al-Amal exceeded the state average in Elementary and Middle/High combined
  • Al-Amal School scored the highest in the State in 8th grade math
  • Al-Amal scored the 2nd highest in the State in 8th grade Reading
  • Al-Amal’s Middle & High School outperformed top school districts like the Mounds View and Wayzata Public School Districts (more info here)

You see that my home-schooling muslimah mommy friends? Thats a glimmer of hope.

I knew it was out there. Next step: having said children… in a couple of years inshAllah.

I’m just a little ahead of myself.



4 responses to “We Don’t Need Another Brick in the Wall

  1. my friend teaches at an islamic school here in UK… she was giving me the stats too, but also a high insight into the runnings of the school. Its a 500 pound voluntary donation per family for 4-11yrs (until grade 6) then it goes up to a whopping 14,000 pounds per child for secondary school because they dont receive funding from the government. She told me its really hard to get into and you have to pass certain levels in grade 6 (SATS in oct of that year rather than the usual june) Most of the time the school runs with half empty classrooms, thats how they can give the brilliant stats that they give. Such a shame 😦 Allahu alim

  2. Is good you are looking into schools, it will give you an idea when the time comes to move back to the US perhaps on locations to live:-)

  3. I heard from a former student of Al-Amal, that the teachers readily call the students “stupid” when they answer a question wrong, and that’s why her mom pulled her out of that school. Also, since it’s a private school, the teachers are not required to have teachers’ licenses. Anyway, just what I heard, but you’d have to do your own investigating, because I’m not 100% sure! It’s so hard to know what to do! May Allah make your choice easy for you when you have children insha’Allah. Allah Hafiz.

  4. British schooling has been mis-educating and de-educating Muslim children for the last 50 years and for the first time the Muslim leadership openly declared that British school is a home of institutional racism where there is no place for foreign culture and languages. Institutional racism is depriving Muslim children of the chance to go to their own faith schools. It leads LEAs to reject or delay approval of Muslim schools. Policy makers like Mr. Graham Lane and others like him do not want to see even a single Muslim school in the United Kingdom. The British teachers have no respect for Islamic faith and Muslim community. Western education system can easily deprogram Muslim children and force them to adopt un-Islamic values. Let the Muslim parents decides how and where to educate their children. According to MORI social research institute on behalf of Bristol LEA, nine out of ten Muslim parents agreed with the model of an Islamic secondary school set up within the state system. I rejected British schooling for Muslim children in the early 70s.

    A child who has English as a second language is seen as having a special need – not as having a skill to be lauded from the rooftops. Bilingual children think in different way. Language has a profound effect in shaping the ways people think and act. Certain concepts are embedded in words that do not translate. There are repertoires of phrases which exist in Arabic or Urdu because there is no English equivalent. State schools are slaughter houses and are not suitable for bilingual Muslim children. Muslim children in the UK may lose out when they join reception classes because the school’s values and language reflect those of the dominant native culture, rather than those of their home. Almost all recent research literature agrees that if you want children whose home language is not English to excel in English –medium schools, it is important to nurture and acknowledge that first language along side their English development. Cultivating bilingualism could and should promote pupil’s linguistic development. Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models.

    Taxpayers’ money spent on schools should be handed to parents as vouchers to be used for their children’s education as they wished. Funds may be given to parents to set up their own schools. Lady Uddin argues strongly for the benefits of faith-based schooling, rejecting claims made in reports on the 2001 riots in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford that polarised schooling contributed to community division. Culturally separate groups, communities and institutions do not have to be the causes of social instability. There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority, all such schools may be designated as Muslim community schools to be managed and controlled by Muslim Educational Trust and Charities.
    Iftikhar Ahmad

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