SDS Statement on Religious Charter School

SDS Statement on Religious Charter School

On June 5th, the application for the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Catholic Charter School, an online public school, was approved by a 3 to 2 vote from the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board. This virtual school will be overseen by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa. However, following the approval, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond expressed his belief that the decision was unconstitutional. He stated that if a contract for the school is signed, legal action is likely to ensue.

Through this charter school, another attack is made against public education. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated. Significantly, the vast majority of teachers at charter schools are not unionized, therefore, teaching as a profession is under attack. The proliferation of charter schools paves the way for public schools to close and for teachers’ unions to disappear. In contrast to public schools, which are overseen by democratically accountable local school boards responsible for all schools and students within the district, charter schools operate under their own governance selected by operators and owners, particularly business owners. Charter schools, as a general rule, are not obligated to adhere to the same regulations regarding open meetings, open records, and conflict of interest requirements that are applicable to public school boards, school districts, and their employees.

However, unlike other charter schools, this school is the first of its kind. As a religious charter school, its curriculum would not be subject to the same standards as public schools’ curriculum would be. They would not be required to teach theories and facts substantiated by years of research, experiment, and social practice. In regard to teachers, teachers could potentially be subject to discrimination on the basis of their identity that would not occur in a public school. Moreover, this violates the separation of church and state.

Students For A Democratic Society strongly condemns this attack on public education and the growing influence of charter schools in the education system. We demand that our schools are funded, our children are educated, and our teachers are paid.

Defend Public Education!
Money for public education, not church indoctrination!