Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Scientology Education In Your Children's Future? Don't Get Taken By Surprise As Your Tax Funds Go To Them Already!

Bomb Iran!

Speaking of attacks on Iran, I saw a report that Israel has already knocked out most of Iran's nuclear capacity in the last day or so. Since I have no verification of that, I will continue to research it and let you know, faithful readers, when I find good data. In the meantime, I did find this most interesting bit of current data on charter schools actually being fraudulent money-makers for the Church of Scientology. Talk about an attack. Read on, please.

Do you like to fund religious cults with rapidly vanishing (since the wealthy don't pay that much anymore) taxpayer funds? How about irreligious cults? Non-religious cults? Or just money-making cults with a religious bent? Or at least alternate religion sounding patter? Scientology has long presented itself as a money-making enterprise that sells books (oodles of books) and services (crazy-sounding services that no one should need) to the poorly educated (for example, Tom Cruise and John Travolta). How about entrusting them with educating your children (in the disguise of properly-vetted charter schools)?

Seems like lots of folks do. At least in Florida, Minnesota, and in many other states. And it may be coming to your state soon if it's okayed even when exposed as a fraud.

Crooks and Liars provides the crack reporting for us today.

February 27, 2012

Charter School or Scientology Center? Education In Rick Scott's Florida


By karoli

My alternative title to this post would have been something like This is why education is not a business. Except that in this case, it's not merely business interfering with children's education. It's a cult masquerading as a religion; specifically, Scientology.

In Rick Scott's Florida, charter schools are the preferred way to deliver "public education," and especially in areas with poor and underprivileged students. They are a gateway to ALEC's goal of completely privatized "public education."

This exposé in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times should be an object lesson for every single state in this country for why charter schools are a terrible idea. Worse than terrible. They're a waste of public funds and place children in danger of being "educated" by fanatics who place profit and dogma over educating children.

Some parents and former teachers at Life Force, which receives about $800,000 a year in public funding, say the Pinellas County charter school has become a Scientology recruiting post targeting children.
Opened to serve a low-income Clearwater neighborhood and advertising classes in computers and modern dance, Life Force had begun pushing Hubbard's "study technology," which critics call a Trojan horse Scientology uses to infiltrate public classrooms.
And while Life Force students and teachers worked in poorly stocked classrooms and teachers went unpaid, the bankrupt school funneled tens of thousands of dollars more to Islam's business interests than she told the bankruptcy court she would charge.
To understand just how bad this is, you should read these essays on Hubbard's "study tech" techniques, which were part of the curriculum these children were required to learn. Here's a snippet:

The Study Tech books fall into two groups. The first three, the Basic Study Manual, Study Skills for Life, and Learning How to Learn, cover Study Technology proper, but are targeted at different grade levels. These three books are the primary focus of this essay. The remaining two titles, How to Use a Dictionary, and Grammar and Communication for Children, are unremarkable introductions to grammar and punctuation that show only a few tiny traces of Hubbard’s influence. The Study Technology is also used in other Scientology-related "social reform" programs, notably the Narconon and Criminon drug and criminal rehabilitation programs. There, it is delivered in the form of a "Learning Improvement Course" utilizing a very similar set of course materials.
All five books (plus their Narconon and Criminon variants) are published by Bridge Publications, the in-house publishing arm of the Church of Scientology. They are distributed by a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization called Applied Scholastics International (ASI). ASI is a subordinate organization of theAssociation for Better Living and Education International (ABLE). This is in turn a subordinate, and an integral part, of the Church of Scientology, which exercises direct overall control of all of the aforementioned organizations. (Recently Scientology also began distributing the books through another front organization, Effective Education Publishing.) This complicated set of relationships, examined elsewhere on StudyTech.org, is seemingly designed to obscure the central role of the Church of Scientology in the promotion and implementation of Study Technology.
Study Tech is founded on three principles: (1) use pictures and diagrams to illustrate the concepts being taught, (2) break down complex concepts so they can be mastered in a series of simple steps, and (3) always seek definitions for unfamiliar terms. These rules make sense and are harmless enough when phrased in plain English. But the Study Tech books present them in a different manner. The three principles are called “mass”, “gradients”, and “misunderstoods”: terms that were invented or redefined by Hubbard and loaded with significance in the Scientology religion.
From the Miami Times article:

Teachers who questioned study tech were told they had no choice but to implement it. Fifth-grade teacher Jason Lowe, who was fired in January, said Life Force director of operations Vikki Williams told him, " 'We are a study tech school,' and that if any of us had a problem with it, we had to get over it."
Three teachers said they were terminated last month without explanation. Lowe said he was fired because school leaders suspected he spoke with the Times. Several parents and teachers who talked with the Times were reluctant to be quoted because they feared retribution.
The problem in Florida is complicated even more by the fact that the school has filed for bankruptcy protection, which prohibits the overseeing school district from closing its doors. In an effort to save the school, the board approved a takeover by Hanan Islam, executive director of the World Literacy Crusade, an organization that proudly boasts of improving students' test scores using techniques developed by L. Ron Hubbard.

From Sunday's Times article:

Life Force paid the World Literacy Crusade more than $33,000 in September and October, bankruptcy court filings show, though they do not detail what that money bought. Islam's management company was paid more than $56,000 in the three months after the school's bankruptcy — nearly double the rate Islam told the courts she would charge the school.

While public education funds streamed out of the school, former teachers said the educational environment at Life Force declined.
The "arts and technology academy," which had promised parents their children would have access to Kindles and laptop computers, instead provided only a small lab with two working computers. Music, science and art classes were nearly nonexistent.
Teachers and parents began resorting to unorthodox means to keep the school afloat. When the school stopped paying for bus service, former teachers said, parents and teachers carpooled. After administrators denied requests for classroom materials like paper, pencils and textbooks, teachers wrote to parents asking for help with supplies.
Some teachers resorted to buying their own supplies, downloading free online curriculum sets, and copying whole workbooks and teachers' guides, former teachers said. Paid $85 a day before taxes, without benefits or sick days, some teachers waited months to receive their paychecks.
That mention of public funds streaming out of the school? Yes. There are 106 students at this school. One hundred and six. Ninety percent of them are on free and reduced cost lunch programs. What would you think an appropriate public funding level should be for a school that pays teachers $85 per day before taxes, doesn't provide supplies, technology, or approved textbooks? Here's what they've received, according to the Times article: $800,000 per year. Eight. hundred. thousand. dollars. For 106 students. That would be $7,547.00 per student of taxpayer dollars to a school which is using Scientology-based curriculum, ripping their teachers off, not providing students with a proper environment to learn, and which failed to meet benchmarks in four out of six areas, though I'm certain those children probably understand this concept, which is pounded home in the study tech curriculum:

Study tech combines common educational concepts like hands-on learning and word comprehension with what Hubbard defined as "barriers of study" and their manifested responses. "The real things or the objects that you study about are called mass," explains Learning How to Learn. Studying something without having the "mass" of it could make a student "feel squashed" or "sort of spinny," the book states. To get past that barrier, the student might be instructed to craft the idea with clay.
Newt Gingrich would be proud of this particular charter school's discipline policy and fiscal prudence:

The boys, the employee told school district officials, had gotten in trouble. For punishment they were to work alongside the school custodian. One boy would mop the floors; the other, scrub a bathroom.
Williams, Life Force's director of operations, told the school district this was ordinary practice at Life Force. Student discipline entailed forfeiting recess for "work detail."
Dot Clark, the school district's coordinator of partnership schools, told Life Force administrators that forcing young children to clean bathrooms was "inappropriate, unhealthy and a possible safety concern."
But Islam defended the practice. "We have found in many programs," Islam wrote to Clark, "having children contribute to the cleanliness of their environment (can) enhance their level of ownership and build their self-esteem."

This school continues to teach students. I refuse to use the term "educate" in this instance. Children are the gateway of choice for many religions, who establish schools as a means to reach out to the larger community around the children they teach. This could possibly be the first time I've seen public funds used to indoctrinate children into the teachings of a cult, however.

Florida taxpayers, and especially those children, deserve better. Instead, what they're getting is an expansion of charter schools with the full blessing of Governor ALEC Scott and Florida's ultra-conservative legislature.
About karoli
karoli's picture
Card-carrying member of we, the people
Geronimo.'s picture
Fuck Scientology. They are already trying to get into the education business with places like Phoenix University etc. Our education system is in disarray and in an emergency. They aren't even teaching people the truth about the most seminal events in our history. Sad. Oh yeah.. and Fuck Scientology.

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Paul the Sax Guy's picture
Be interesting to hear the school song... Xenu Boo! Body Thetans! Boo! Tom Cruise Yay!...
Or words to that effect...
damn... need more coffee... too damned early for bad sci-fi...

In the marketplace of ideas, too many people shop in the bargain basement.
-- Thunder BlueRose
Why, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU
Tax the Rich's picture
Plus, they have destroyed thousands of excellent public schools by averaging everybody's test scores together and saying education is a complete failure.
Now, thousands of excellent Blue Ribbon public schools have become nothing more than ACT Test prep sites, while thousands of the best teachers have said "to hell with this indoctrination shit," and left.

If I were a psychopath, I would join the republican party, and get in on the gravy train taking the Teabircher morons to the cleaners.
Tax the Rich's picture
Republican educational ideas: Replace intelligent, well educated caring teachers with fly by night greed head psycho's who will indoctrinate the kids in whatever flavor of lunacy the know nothing Charter School CEO desires.
There's lots of dollars to be made from those failing kiddies for a right-wing psycho greed head.
And you can get rid of intelligent, well educated, caring teachers - you know, liberals; and replace them with know nothing psycho greed heads - you know, conservatives!
What's worse, is OBAMA and his fascist idiot know nothing stooge Arne Duncan, are on the very same Michelle Rhee loving program - the SOB's!

If I were a psychopath, I would join the republican party, and get in on the gravy train taking the Teabircher morons to the cleaners.
Different Anonymous's picture
Hey, if you want to sign your billion year contract to serve the Sea Org and Scientology across multiple life times, you've got to get 'em in early.
Honestly, I don't see much difference between the thetan Scilons and the zombie rabbi worshippers. Where do you draw the line on how much lunacy is acceptable in our religious schools? I contend that no public money should be going to religious schools - whatever you want to call them - at all.
Paul the Sax Guy's picture
Is it only a billion? Thought it was 4... hey... where do I sign? My turn to hold the soup cans!

Limp-Dick Blimpaugh's picture

How long will the Reslug idiots in Florida keep voting against their own interests? Surely out of sheer ignorance and listening to the constant blatent lies on Faux Noise.
cund_gulag's picture
From schools to the military.
Wait, we can't completely privatize the military. There aren't enough Hessians around anymore.
But certainly schools!
And I know how we can cut costs while we're doing it - to save on taxes for the "Job Creators.".
Not only have the kiddies do the janitoring, but also do the teaching!
1st Graders can teach a Kindergartener. 2nd Graders can teach 1st Grade. And so on...
Why not?
They just learned the material, so it's fresh on their minds.
Trantorian's picture
They're too busy cleaning the toilets through Newt's programs. Kind of like OJT.

The people of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage." J.K. Galbraith
daganium's picture
..to love how Republicans nitpick what crazy shit they will allowed to be teached to children:
1) Christianity as a divisive hate doctrine? = Acceptable.
2) Christianity framed in the life & teaching of Jesus? = Unacceptable.
3) Mormonism? = Unacceptable. (Yet flocking to the polls in Nov. to vote for a Mormon is acceptable).
4) Islam? = Open vows to kill those who dare.
5) Scientology? = Acceptable.
6) Catholicism? = if you are a Catholic that likes to stir the shit about contraceptives = Acceptable. If you are a Catholic that likes to live a 21st century life = Unacceptable.
7) Judaism? = Acceptable only if you are a zealot for Israel. Otherwise, unacceptable.
Republicans have so many ridiculous litmus tests for religions, it would take me all day to research then list them.

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in excess body fat & carrying a misspelled sign.
Paul the Sax Guy's picture

Hey, everybody needs a hobby...
And we pagans of every path are only thought of as "I'm not a witch, I'm you"
To which my only answer was, "I am a witch, and I'm so grateful to the Goddess that you're not me..."
Oh, and we're pretty fair game around the "non-sectarian" taxpayer-funded Air Force Academy....

Excelsior's picture
"I'm not a witch, I'm you"
Better that than "She's a witch! Burn her!"

There's always free cheddar in the mousetrap, baby. - Tom Waits
Paul the Sax Guy's picture
Much, much better... better still would be for such a thing to never be an issue regarding public policy, but it is what it is.

Paul the Sax Guy's picture

Note - this is not a justification for Scientology, as per Elrond's own words it was a way for a hack scifi writer to make a lot of money... Dr. Frankenxenu's monster is a lot more subtle this time around, and their paranoid little martinet of a leader has apparently changed tactics and is keeping a low profile, changing the names of the shells in the game (like Amway does with theirs), and acquire power and $$ in a subtle manner.

In the marketplace of ideas, too many people shop in the bargain basement.
-- Thunder BlueRose
Why, yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU
stan9fromouterspace's picture
"Call today the World Literacy Crusade today!"
Never mind -
that they should believe a lie": since we are talking about unprovable hypotheses, i may as well throw that old chestnut into the mix. it's not unusual in this country for all sorts of people to believe ridiculous things, it's the norm.
it's a win/win situation, deficits don't matter, iraq had wmd, and our emperor is a socialist.
the truth? we do have a state religion in this country, the state religion is the death cult we call capitalism, the worship of dead labor, just like dear old uncle karl said, him and his brother baudrillard. the high temple of this cult is wall street, and the sacrifice? our lives.
so it's no surprise that profit centers are sold as money savers, up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery.
Paul the Sax Guy's picture
Well, yeah... pretty strong delusion to turn fairly decent and talented artists, musicians and actors into borgs... wrecked a lot of lives, yet, like the Moonies' Wash. Times, Scientology gets a pass... big database of dirty laundry accumulated over the years is one explanation.

debaser71's picture

It's good to see liberals changing their views on charter schools.
fastfeat's picture
you just know the place is farcical.

"Parachutes are allowed in checked or carry-on baggage, but may not be worn in flight."
---Southwest Airlines
Peter G's picture
an indictment of charter schools (the school board clearly wants to shut it down) as it is of of the weird Florida bankruptcy laws which are the only thing keeping it open. You could use the same argument about a crappy public school to indict all public schools.

ricky's picture
Didn't she once head up a public school system?

glogrrl's picture
The Washington DC school district, I believe.

“The greatest evildoers are those who don’t remember because they have never given thought to the matter, and, without remembrance, nothing can hold them back,”
jimbo92107's picture
Turning child abuse into a for-profit business is not the same as educating children. Replacing competent education with buzz words, empty fluff and religious indoctrination is, if nothing else, a massive case of fraud that demands to be prosecuted and fully investigated for further instances of this kind of fraud and child abuse.
Once again, Eric Holder, do. your. fucking. job.

Samson-'s picture
...shall be the whole of the law"
so sayeth the thelemites.
makes for an interesting educational theory. what do students learn after that?
RayC's picture

Education is one of the areas in this country that progressives are losing the battle badly. I have had discussions that have led to shouting matches with people that simply believe that we spend way to much money on K - 12th grade education and the reason is everyone from teachers to janitors to administrators are scamming the system. When someone comes along and says they can do a better job for much less they are pushed to the front of line even when real studies show no difference or a worse outcome, they will be listened to first. Many people know how to educate our children but it can't be done with a quick fix with no parental responsibility and it can't be done on the cheap so they will not be listened to. Only the grifters who tell you they can cure your illness with one bottle of snake oil for one dollar will be listened to.
ricky's picture
Their Charter School Law is ranked higher than Florida's under Rick Scott.
Oh, and Florida's Charter schools began under Lawton Chiles.

Floridiot's picture
Mn charter school failure rate is higher than hell. Don't know why it hasn't been kicked out to pasture yet..
drshatterhand's picture
" Scientology is cult masquarding as a religion..." Ahem, all religions are cults. The only difference is the number of members.
Paul the Sax Guy's picture

I would rather say that, like so many religions, that it is a book and fake service selling organization masquerading as some kind of faith.

Libertas's picture
hardly surprising since Clearwater is Scientology Base.
Amitola's picture
the Education of our youth will be handed over to anyone who wants to have a "school" once Ricky S. gets
elected Prez. He wants to do away with any kind of standards on a federal, state and maybe the local level, too.
So, it'll be like on Oprah - You get a school! You get a school! And, you get a school! Everybody gets a school!!!! Then, we can even more cults and religions and political groups and corporations getting tax-funding to inculcate the kiddies with even more depraved ideas.
No, No, No, No, No!!!!! If we do nothing else, we must find a way to save and vastly improve public education if we are to have any chance of saving and fixing our society. We can start by ending the charter schools and phasing out tax subsidies for religious/cult schools of any ilk.

"Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of Stupidity" - Frank Leahy

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