Yesterday Jay McNally of American Christian Academy American Classical Academy Lindbom Classical Academy Livingston Classical Academy wrote a rebuttal to Eclectablog after a series of articles were published on the blog reporting the treatment of Glenn and Sue Ellen Ikens after they tried to enter the Lindbom Elementary School last Saturday for an “open to the public” open house. McNally called Ikens a unionist (as if belonging to a union is a crime), and claimed he was behaving in a threatening manner that made the owner of the building, our friend Pasquale Battaglia, call the police.
The rebuttal goes on to say that no one from Eclectablog ever spoke to Battaglia or anyone else involved with opening their for-profit charter school. As for the term Tea Party Charter School, that was the title given to the first article published on Up North Progressive about Battaglia and his plans to open his school in Brighton. The purpose of that article was to showcase Battaglia’s rampant racism, homophobia, hatred of Islam, and his blatant disrespect for the president and first lady on social media. Essentially, anyone who doesn’t fit into Battaglia’s narrow fundamentalist Christian ultra nationalist ideology deserves his abuse as far as he’s concerned. And he wants to open schools where children will be taught this same bigotry and ignorance.
I have briefly exchanged words with Battaglia over social media. He used the word progressive against me as if it were an insult, asked me if I was Anonymous and did I just get back from Ferguson, and then told me the reason Jefferson sent the Navy to fight the Barbary Wars was to destroy Islam.
Jay McNally also insists the charter schools they want to open in Brighton, Warren, and Ann Arbor were never intended to be Christian schools. Up North Progressive has already written about the origins of the “classical” academy model and offered evidence to prove McNally’s statement is false. But if that’s not enough, then by all means, let’s go to the source.
On October 21, 2011, Pasquale Battaglia wrote a blog on the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots website with the title, “The God and Country Education Project.” This is also part of the title of an 80 page ebook on Amazon written by Matthew May being sold for the bargain price of $5.99. There are no reviews and it’s non-existent in site rankings. Battaglia rambles through the blog with plenty of grammatical errors and jarring turns of phrase, but through it his intentions for his for-profit charter schools are clear. He states that, “schools of choice will not be a good choice as long as there was a government hand on the curriculum and the purse strings.” He is correct of course, as schools of choice will never be a good choice, but it’s ironic that he eschews government involvement in his schools while he’s begging the government to fund them.
Battaglia then gets all nostalgic, describing a scene from Little House on the Prairie where the school was a perfect harmonious microcosm of the local community and, “the first and foremost “text book” was always the Holy Bible.” So much for claims that Battaglia’s tax-funded schools will be non-religious.
The real meat of this blog however is his reasoning for doing this. Battaglia believes if he can open these schools nationwide then children can be indoctrinated into fundamentalist Christian ultra nationalist ideology, and those “classical” academy children will grow up to be god-fearing patriotic voters. He wraps up his blog quoting Samuel Adams and Joseph Stalin. Still haven’t figured out which one is God and which one is country.
Battaglia, McNally and everyone else involved with this for-profit charter school can make the case that they really intended all along for their school to not be a religious school, but Hillsdale College is a college with a far-right fundamentalist Christian doctrine. The classical academies they have opened with the Barney charter school project make no effort to hide the fact they are Christian in origin and use curriculum that teaches creationism. Honestly, who do they think they’re fooling? Glenn and Sue Ellen Ikens, and the other people of the Brighton community who don’t want Battaglia’s schools to open know the truth. That is the reason why the people behind Livingston Classical Academy feel threatened.
If nothing else, Battaglia hasn’t toned down the hate and vitriol on his twitter account.