To the Editor:
While Joseph P. Viteritti rightly opposes faith-based charter schools (“God in School,” Commentary, Oct. 17, 2007), his holding that today’s public schools “are incapable of accommodating the cultural values of the increasingly diverse student population that attends them” implies that he favors fragmenting our school population along religious, linguistic, and cultural lines, at public expense. That is a surefire formula for the destruction of public education and social peace.
Incidentally, Khalil Gibran (the namesake of New York City’s recently opened Arabic-themed charter school), described as being a Christian by Mr. Viteritti, was more of a humanist. One need only read his writings.
One of the reasons often cited for founding a religious charter school is that such a setting can encourage foreign-language learning. As a former Spanish teacher, I think all kids should be taught a second, or even third, language, be it Spanish, French, Mandarin, Arabic, Hebrew, or whatever. But this can and should be done in public schools.
Americans for Religious Liberty
Silver Spring, Md.
A version of this article appeared in the November 07, 2007 edition of Education Week as Would Religious Charters Divide Us at Public Expense?