Minn: Controversial Muslim school fined over unlicensed teachers

Speaking of madrassas. Looks like the judge cut TIZA a break. Now, what about all the other charges that even prompted the ACLU to file a lawsuit against TIZA? via Court upholds fine against TiZA | StarTribune.com.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld a penalty of $139,800 that state Education Commissioner Alice Seagren imposed against a metro-area charter school for employing teachers who lacked proper licenses.

In an unpublished opinion filed Tuesday, Judge Michelle Larkin wrote that Seagren did not abuse her discretion when she withheld state aid from Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA).

In November, Seagren ruled that eight teachers at TiZA did not have proper licenses in the spring of 2009, when Minnesota Department of Education officials investigated complaints of licensure violations at the school.

The K-8 charter school, with campuses in Inver Grove Heights and Blaine, had about 520 students last year, many of whom are Muslim and from poor, immigrant families.

Except, that is, for Minnesota’s Democratic congressman and convert to Islam, Keith Ellison.

“It is important for every student in Minnesota to have access to the best possible education, including being taught by a licensed teacher,” Seagren said Tuesday in a written statement hailing the court’s opinion.

A spokesman for TiZA said in a written statement that school officials are “glad the matter is closed” and that “despite the distractions, TiZA continues to be a top-ranked school in closing the achievement gap.”

After an unannounced school visit in March 2009, department officials initially reported that 23 teachers out of about 40 were out of compliance with state licensing requirements. Those 23 teachers, often aides or teachers with short-call substitute licenses, were teaching subjects ranging from math to physical education, state officials said.

TiZA responded that some of the teachers actually had the proper licenses, while others would seek appropriate licenses or be reassigned. But in June, state officials told the school that 14 teachers were still out of compliance and called for a penalty of nearly $530,000 in state aid.

Seagren later trimmed that list to eight teachers and reduced the penalty.

From the previous posts on the taxpayer funded Islamic school:

All told, TiZA is expected to receive $4.7 million in state aid for this school year, the department has estimated.

According to the school, state officials are still reviewing a handful of 27 issues raised by the ACLU, including whether TiZA is inappropriately affiliated with religious groups and whether it should be able to schedule classes around Muslim holidays.

Background on the taxpayer funded Islamic school, including how the school refused to fly the American flag, can be found here.

MN: Muslim school’s official to dissenter, “We could just kill you…”

Are taxpayers footing bill for Islamic school in Minnesota?
Teacher Breaks Silence at state’s Muslim Public School
Charter school in Minnesota changing student Islamic prayer time
Storm brewing between Minnesota officials and Muslim school
Minn Islamic school wants ACLU to dismiss case

One Response

  1. Which is why any school funded by the government should be religion-neutral.

    In addition, to me, the fine should have been heavier with a final warning (that the next violation like this would result in a shutdown at the end of that school year).

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