Christian School Wants Taxpayer Funding in Michigan

EclectaBlog has an important report about a Tea Party leader in Michigan who is trying to build a network of Christian charter schools in the state by pretending that they’re not Christian. But he left an internet paper trail behind that shows what he’s really up to.

Back in 2011, a man named Pasquale “Pat” Battaglia posted a blog entry on the website of the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots titled “The God and Country Education Project”. In it, he introduces something he calls “American Christian Academies” and denounces the “progressive” movement who he says have taken “less than 3 generations to completely obliterate our schools”.

Fast forward two years to 2013. The American Christian Academies website no longer exists but Battaglia is still trying to set up a charter school to fight off evil progressives. He published an eerily similar post on the Brighton Tea Party’s website, this time titling it “K-12 Tuition Free Classical Academy for Brighton”. Keeping the ACA acronym, Battaglia rebranded his Christian Academy to be a “Classical” Academy. In the post, he uses much the same language but has snipped out references to religion.

The descriptions of the projects are almost identical. The first one:

Please allow me to introduce you to American Christian Academies. ACA is a model for a school system that will offer a classical education based on the Judeo-Christian foundations of this America. Our methodology will offer this opportunity to families who currently have no other choices for their children. We will provide an education option nearly tuition free and autonomous from the government and the government run public school systems.

And the second:

Please allow me to introduce you to American Classical Academies, (AmericanClassicalAcademy.com). ACA is a model for a school system that will offer a classical liberal arts education based upon the foundations of this America. Our methodology will offer this opportunity to families who currently have no other choices for their children. We will provide an education option tuition free working toward autonomy from the government and the government run public school systems, (See Hillsdale Barney Charter School Initiative, http://www.hillsdale.edu/).

Sounds a lot like creationism, doesn’t it? Pour the old wine into a new skin and declare it to now be magically religion-free and therefore eligible for government funding despite that pesky First Amendment. Battaglia also intends to open a school in Warren, Michigan and has already received $100,000 from taxpayers for it. I hope the ACLU of Michigan is keeping a very close eye on this because Establishment Clause violations are inevitable.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Reginald Selkirk

    We will provide an education option tuition free working toward autonomy from the government …

    By taking their money! How much more autonomous can you get?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    …denounces the “progressive” movement who he says have taken “less than 3 generations to completely obliterate our schools”.

    Yeah! Us Conservatives can do it in two! Take that, progressive movement!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    And, as usual, I have to point out that the Tea Party is really all about the economy and they aren’t just the Christian Right in tricorns hats.

  • eric

    #3: hey, give credit where its due. Originally they were the Klan in tricorn hats. The Christian Right was invited to the party later.

  • illdoittomorrow

    ACA is a model for a school system that will offer a classical liberal arts(1) education based upon the foundations of this(2) America.

    (1) Liberal arts? Doesn’t this tool know you can’t spell ‘liberal’ without L-I-E???

    (2) As opposed to that America, I suppose.

  • Jordan Genso

    The local school board made the wrong decision months ago to sell the old elementary school building to this group. There was a previous deal on the building, but it fell through, so the school board, whose president at the time was incredibly conservative, chose to then sell to this charter school group.

    Now I am not an objective observer of this, as I serve as a board director for a different charter school in Brighton (FlexTech High School). But in my opinion the board violated its duty to the local public schools by selling an old building to a new competitor. It would be like McDonald’s selling an old restaurant of theirs to Burger King, when there’s another McDonald’s half a mile down the road that will now have to compete with the new Burger King.

    But many of the local conservatives who constantly argue they want “competition” in the education system were saying that the local school board had to approve the sale because it was better than the remaining offers. But what they are effectively arguing then is “we want traditional public schools to have to compete, and we want them to be bad at competing”. Because it is a bad decision (from a competition standpoint) to enable another competitor (who will take students away from the traditional schools) to enter the local market.

    What’s a shame is that even though there were several activists pointing out the numerous concerns with this charter school group before the sale of the old building, few people paid attention. And now, I think it’s too late. Even if the local school board chooses not to provide the charter, the ACA will probably find some university that will give it to them (IIRC, they are already chartered to operate a K-10 school, so they are just trying to get someone to allow them to do grades 11 & 12 as well).

  • Sastra

    … a classical liberal arts education based upon the foundations of this America.

    A “classical” education used to mean one which was strongly informed by Greek and Roman literature, history, and philosophy. The 18th century gentlemen who set up the foundations of the United States government would of course have had a good working knowledge of the classics.

    Hint: this would not include the Bible.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    @illdoittomorrow:

    That America be damned.

  • raven

    Some of the xian Charter schools are terrible at what they are supposed to do, educating kids.

    Some are just scams. They are supposed to be nonprofits but that just means you can’t be too obvious at skimming off the money.

    They cut every corner known. In one I know about, all the teachers are part time!!! This means they don’t have to pay any benefits. No health insurance, no vacation time, no nothing. The pay isn’t very good. I’m not even sure the teachers have to have any qualifications.

    I’m guessing here, but its likely the kids that come out of these schools are minimally educated and not prepared for our complicated, rapidly changing world. You could call this child abuse and not be too far wrong.

    I have to guess because in many states, de facto or de jure, they are exempt from standardized testing. There is no one monitoring the results of their so called education.

  • raven

    Strangely enough, sometimes the education marketplace is self correcting.

    One christofascist school in Oregon lost their state funding because they ignored curriculum guidelines in favor of teaching fundie mythology.

    Another school I don’t know much about just closed down. Not sure why but likely not enough parents wanted to sacrifice their children on American Abraham’s altar of ignorance and illiteracy.

  • raven

    I’m just going to say it. What in the hell is wrong with Michigan? It’s a rhetorical question.

    A few years ago, I started dividing the USA up into Normal Areas and National Sacrifice Areas. States that were going downhill and dragging us down. Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Alberta, Idaho, Utah, and so on.

    Then it started spreading. Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona. North Carolina, etc..

    It really didn’t work. At the rate the National Sacrifice Areas were spreading, it was going to end up being most or all of the USA. And I live here. Oh well, if 319 million lemmings decide to make the USA into a National Sacrificed Country, not much I can do about it. I suppose the twilight of the American empire will be interesting, for some values of interesting.

  • eric

    @11: Alberta? Did you get your geography learnin’ in a national sacrifice area?

  • raven

    @11: Alberta? Did you get your geography learnin’ in a national sacrifice area?

    I knew someone would miss the point.

    While Alberta is technically in Canada and oddly enough where a presidential wannabe was born (Ted Cruz) it is definitely a US National Sacrifice Area.

    They are busy digging up their tar sands by the square miles to provide oil for…the USA. The amount of environmental damage is considerable but we do owe them for destroying their boreal forests for our benefit.

    It’s the same with Louisiana. Decades of fossil fuel extraction has made a few people rich, didn’t really trickle down, and they are losing their land to the sea by the square mile per year. I think of them when I put $2 a gallon gas in my car. Thanks Louisiana.

  • eric

    Ah. well if environmental damage is your main criteria for national sacrifice area, don’t forget to include the states ‘Gulf of Mexico’ and ‘Atlantic Ocean Fisheries.’

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    eric, more simply, “every place the fish used to be at”. It’s to the point that I saw a tiny little trawler floating in the tanks at the Pets ‘n More.

  • brucegee1962

    Wow, this guy is a great educator — he does a brilliant job of summing up the difference between a public school and a charter school:

    Public school=The government gives the school money, and then dictatorially makes sure they spend it on educating the students.

    Charter school=The government gives the school money, and the school gets to spend it on whatever the hell they want.

    What a great deal — I’m surprised more people don’t get in on that!