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Kahlil Gibran (Continued)
May 20th, 2007

The outpouring of vitriol that greeted plans for the Kahlil Gibran Academy, a public school focusing on Arabic language, culture and history did not surprise its founding principal, Debbie Almontaser. But, writing in the News, she describes fears that the schools will be some kind of Islamist training ground “unfounded and unfair.” Instead, Almontaser writes, the school, set to open next fall, will “offer a Regents-based curriculum enhanced by intensive instruction in Arabic and the study of Middle Eastern history and culture.” In doing so, she believes, the school “can strengthen and unify the city….Students will graduate emulating Khalil Gibran’s quote, ‘The universe is my country and the human family is my tribe.'”

But notes education historian Diane Ravitch thinks the school would be a “mistake.” Also writing in the News (her comentaryappeared lastweek), she said it “violates the very purpose of public education, which is to teach the ideas, traditions, values, knowledge and skills that young people need to become productive members of American society.” While the U.S. needs more people “who can read and speak Arabic,” Ravitch said thatis an argument for more Arabic class – “not a reason to create a school that is centered entirely on Arabic studies.”

Other debate is less high-minded, with bloggers still seeing the small Brooklyn school as a madrasah that could topple civilization, as we know it.

By on May 20, 2007, 2:50 pm
In category: Civil Rights,Education,Gotham City | Comments Off

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