KGIA Travesty Continues
Well, if this isnâ€™t the ultimate irony, I donâ€™t know what is. The Stop the Madrassa Group (SMG), the organization responsible for the attack on the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) before it even opened, is now calling for the closing of the school on the grounds that it has become â€œchaotic.â€
The group issued a press release yesterday calling for an â€œimmediate investigation into chaotic conditions at Arabic Public School.â€ The Group is correct in stating that there is chaos at the school. What it fails to explain is that this chaos is a direct result of their spreading vicious lies, resulting in the loss of the schoolâ€™s founding principal and the continued failure to support the school by the DOE.
As is their usual tactic, the SMG is distorting the truth to fit their needs. The truth is that as soon as Debbie Almontaser, the schoolâ€™s founding principal resigned, a series of events were set into motion that have led to the schoolâ€™s inevitable failure to fulfill its intended mission. Their accusations are like someone who throws a grenade into a building and then complains about the building being a shambles.
With Debbie Almontaser at its helm, the school was designed to be a â€œmulticultural oasis of community, connection, and learning.â€ As soon as Debbie resigned, the vision began to be ripped apart. Debbie resigned in the belief that the school would be able to continue if the controversy that surrounded her was abated. When she realized that the school was under attack despite her resignation, she applied for the job as she would have had to do had she not resigned.
School principals are chosen through a process in which parents, teachers and administrators have input â€“ the C-30 process. The DOE did not allow Debbieâ€™s application to be considered in that process, thus taking that choice from those with the most right to make the choice. But even worse than not allowing Debbieâ€™s application to be considered is the DOEâ€™s complete abandonment of the school and the vision that it was obligated to support.
The school was envisioned to be a place where students, teachers, parents and community members could come together to learn and grow together. The original proposal envisioned parents and community members as actively involved in the school. According to KGIA teachers, however, parents are not even allowed in their childrenâ€™s classrooms.
The original proposal envisioned intensive Arabic instruction enabling students to graduate as bilingual speakers. Now, even though foreign languages classes are typically taught 4-5 times a week in public schools, in this school dedicated to the learning of Arabic, Arabic classes have been cut back to a mere 3 times a week.
The school which supposedly has the full support of the DOE, has been provided with inadequate space, inadequate materials and has not integrated Arabic culture into the curriculum - one of the primary purposes of the schoolâ€™s creation. KGIA has become less than a shell of what it was intended to be. KGIA is not only being denied the support and resources needed to fulfill its mission but worse, it is being denied the support and resources critical for it to be a quality school of any kind.
For more information about KGIA, see the website for the Coalition in Support of KGIA