On Monday night in a 6 to 1 vote the Brighton Area Schools board decided not to charter Pasquale Battaglia’s Hillsdale College American “classical” academy. As the parents and concerned citizens of Brighton are relieved that their district won’t be responsible for allowing this school to open in their district, the people involved with the for-profit charter school insist they’re not defeated; now they’re looking for a university to authorize the school.
— Pasquale Battaglia (@BattagliaPat) February 3, 2015
Battaglia’s twitter account has been very quiet lately. Perhaps he’s contemplating how his reprehensible online footprint may have had something to do with Brighton Area Schools turning him down?
After the last piece about Hillsdale College promoting religious schools through their outreach project, the Barney Initiative, A commenter insisted this blog was all wet claiming Hillsdale College was promoting religious schools paid for with taxpayer funds. What made the comments strange was the insistence there was no proof Hillsdale College was anything but a secular college, and made a comparison to Harvard University. They also suggested that public schools should be closed due to the “near continual instances of official corruption, child molestation, and statutory rape in the news.”
No proof? Large sections of text were quoted from Hillsdale’s own literature that they are a college based on Judeo-Christian ideology. How is that not proof?
The commenter lives in Leander, Texas, home to a Hillsdale College for-profit charter school called Founder’s Classical Academy. This for-profit charter school in Texas, like charter schools in Michigan, is maintained by a privately owned management company called ResponsiveEd, one of the largest third party managers in Texas with 65 for-profit charter schools. The CEO of ResponsiveEd is Chuck Cook.
ResponsiveEd has been criticized for the curriculum used in their schools. The science <a href=”http://web.archive.org/web/20140209124636/http://secondgiantleap.org/?attachment_id=151>curriculum teaches creationism is scientifically viable, that evolution is an untested theory with no evidence backing it, and even suggests more research needs to be done before anyone knows for sure if vaccines cause autism. There were numerous instances of incorrect history in the curriculum as well, including the New Deal didn’t help with the Depression and feminism led women “to turn to the state as a surrogate husband.”
Chuck Cook responded to these allegations in a long screed posted to an Arkansas newspaper comments section. He ranted about how his schools do teach evolution, along with alternate theories to the origins of the Earth, but that shouldn’t be a problem because we’re just telling students question what scientists say because they really don’t know the truth (what?). The long rant is mostly cut and paste from the heavily leaning to creationism theory curriculum, but there was a paragraph that shared some personal information:
As applied to me, according to Slate’s reasoning, ResponsiveEd must be incapable of meeting our contractual and legal obligations because I, as the CEO of the organization, am a professed Christian, attend church each week, have a degree in religion, have worked at a Christian rescue mission, and have worked at Accelerated Christian Education. Once again, the logic fails. I would suggest that the pertinent inquiry is ResponsiveEd’s actual operations, not the personal beliefs of some of our past and present associations.
Remember ACE? The insane Christian school model with campuses all over the world, turns the classroom into a cube farm where students never interact with each other, and teaches children to pray with and thank the adult who spanks them? Chuck Cook used to work for these people, and now he’s running charter schools that teach creationism as science. His management company rakes in $82 million taxpayers’ dollars every year to teach Christianity in a “public school.” ResponsiveEd can be connected to ACE; and partners with Hillsdale College to open charter schools in Texas.
But they’re not promoting religion at taxpayer expense. Chuck Cook’s LinkedIn profile also fails to mention he worked for ACE. Now why would a man who is a professed Christian, has a degree in religion, and worked at a Christian rescue mission not want to list that as professional experience?
ResponsiveEd currently has four charter schools operating in Arkansas with the help of the Walton Foundation. They are expanding. With Pasquale Battaglia’s ‘life’s passion’ to open six of these charter schools teaching creationism and revisionist history, it’s not possible to sit back and think we’re done putting an end to the spread of schools teaching religion for science and the bible as an original source document for historical research, and making a profit from our tax dollars while they do it.