Eric Kalenze: Hoping TiZA survives to teach some more

Full story: TwinCities.com

The increasing likelihood that the two campuses of the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy will have their religion-state boundary put on trial causes anxiety for citizens passionate about school reform in the Twin Cities.
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Khalid

Saint Paul, MN

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#1
Feb 25, 2011
 

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Mr. Kalenze irresponsibly offers his opinion on the ACLU's lawsuit against TiZA while he readily acknowledges that he is not familiar with the "finer points" of the lawsuit. He expresses concern about the lawsuit financially strapping TiZA without mentioning that TiZa and it's affiliated organization, MET, are accused of funneling close to one-million-dollars to their other affiliated organization, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota while providing their part-time director a richer contract and compensation package than most, if not all, full-time directors of Minnesota charter schools including an $89,000 MBA from the Carlson School of Management and a 100% disability policy.
I have to imagine that employs Mr. Kalenze would give a failing grade to a student submitting a book report without the student reading the book, yet he attempts to accomplish the equivalent in his piece. Not a good example for students, Mr. Kalenze.
kidsfirst

United States

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#2
Feb 25, 2011
 

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I appreciate the courage demonstrated by Mr. Kalenze in showing his support of TiZA's educational program. I am also an educator and a parent passionate about educational reform, and I have visited TiZA schools. I observed excellent instruction and very well prepared learners. And, for the record, I saw nothing that contradicted the First Amendment, but I did overhear staff debating whether the Packers or the Steelers would win the Superbowl.
Khalid

Saint Paul, MN

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#3
Feb 26, 2011
 

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Kidsfirst, as a parent, I wonder if you would feel the same if your child came home from TiZA, started shaking and crying and told you that the adults at TiZa were no longer nice to him or her. And I wonder if you would feel the same if you attended a parent meeting where the school's director, Asad Zaman, told parents that it was illegal for them to speak to the department of education without his knowledge while he repeatedly called you a whiner and complainer in front of attendees. Could it be that TiZA put on a show for you when you visited? And could it be that TiZA teaches to the tests? I know of a number of parents who removed their kids from TiZA. And while the children were considered advanced while there, they were surprised to find that they were significantly behind their new classmates at their new public school. As an educator and parent, how would you explain that?
Khalid

Saint Paul, MN

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#4
Feb 26, 2011
 

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An email to Mr. Kalenze; Do not take my word for anything. But, do not take the word of others either.
Read the facts for yourself. If you decide to read the facts, perhaps you can find answers to some of these questions:
Why did TiZA forge the signature of their own sponsor's president at least seven times?
Why did they forge a document and falsely list me as treasurer of their affiliated organization that is accused of funneling close to one-million-tax dollars?
Why did executive director, Asad Zaman tell parents that it is illegal for them to talk to the department of education about any concerns they have?
Why did Mr. Zaman, while director of the school, also act as chairman of the school board? And after he was forced to step down, why did they appoint Mahrous Kandil, the Blaine director, in his place? These two men also run the Muslim American Society and MET, the affiliated organization that collects and funnels tax money to their Muslim organization. And why did they have a non-English speaker, their Imam, on the board?
Why did they fire who they called their best teacher after she began speaking up about their deceitful practices, some of which are now stipulated facts in the lawsuit?
Why did Mr. Zaman claim he could not recall threatening to kill an employee who threatened to speak up?
Why did TiZA's own sponsor turn against them and join the ACLU's side in the lawsuit? And why did the sponsor secure two witnesses for the ACLU?
Why would the ACLU continue to pursue this lawsuit if they didn't have a valid case? And why would Judge Donovan Frank repeatedly deny TiZA's numerous motions to dismiss?
Why did TiZA remove asbestos from the school building while school was in session without telling parents? Do they not think parents have the right to know such a thing? Are they that secretive? And why would they then deny it when asked? Are they that deceptive and dishonest?
Why do state legislators who once spoke up for TiZA and Asad Zaman now roll their eyes at their mention and privately acknowledge the dishonesty of the school's administration?
I could go on, of course.
Incidentally, you would be better served to try to come up with your own answers to these questions rather than go to TiZA or their supporters.
Charter schools should not exist to enrich people or to act as a cash cow for people's self interests. Not should they make any child feel intimidated or unwelcome as was the case with my child and many children of parents who spoke up.
And while TiZA claims to be concerned with their students' performance, my child was one of the best students academically and behaviorally, yet she finally told me and my wife that people at TiZA were no longer nice to her. And my daughter who loved school began making excuses for why she no longer "needed" to go to school as she would shake and cry. She was six at the time. And our story is not unique.
What is unique is that I grew up in the U.S. and I am a product of the American public school system. I know my rights. Most TiZA parents are immigrants or refugees who do not know their rights and they are being exploited and intimidated by TiZA leadership.
They are essentially told that if they speak up to the MDE or anyone,as i did, that the school will shut down and their kids will be forced to go to "American" schools. Something they all fear because of the experiences Muslim students have in "American" schools as you astutely mention in your piece.
Please read for yourself, Mr. Kalenze. And ponder some of these questions. It is not difficult to come to the right conclusion. As a Muslim, I believe we undermine our own cause as a community when we scream bigotry and injustice when none exist.
TiZA leadership needs to look in the mirror, acknowledge their mistakes and fraudulent acts and resolve to change. Otherwise, I fear, TiZA will be forced to close and many will, indeed lose. Many already have.
Best Regards,
Khalid
Sarah D

Saint Paul, MN

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#6
Feb 26, 2011
 

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Fairness wrote:
It seems that Khalid is trying to drive away any TIZA supporter.
It seems that Khalid has a deep hatred to TIZA and its leadership specially Zaman.
Khalid is someone who is supposed to be disabled and can not work. Yet he is able to follow all the details of this complicated law suit and comment on almost every mention of TIZA. I wonder how it would be if the disability insurance company that pays Khalid every month reevaluates his health conditions in the light of his online activities.
You can follow something online from a laptop while in bed. People use laptops in hospitals.

You wouldn't be trying to INTIMIDATE Khalid into being silent about TIZA now would you? Because that would just be evidence supporting what he says about TIZA.

And that would make you not very bright.
Cher

Saint Paul, MN

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#7
Feb 27, 2011
 

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Fairness wrote:
It seems that Khalid is trying to drive away any TIZA supporter.
It seems that Khalid has a deep hatred to TIZA and its leadership specially Zaman.
Khalid is someone who is supposed to be disabled and can not work. Yet he is able to follow all the details of this complicated law suit and comment on almost every mention of TIZA. I wonder how it would be if the disability insurance company that pays Khalid every month reevaluates his health conditions in the light of his online activities.
Wow Fairness, how about you answer some of Khalid's questions instead of throwing out the all-time favorite deflection techniques. You are not a coward now, are you? Oh but you are. Probably the coward that the Imams hire to do their enforcing and silencing,ERRR I mean "encouraging". Well good luck with that Fairness, or should we call you "Farceness".

Now, how about you answer some of the questions about the school. Or instead are you going to make some false insinuations (or threats) to good ole "cher" now?????
Cher

Saint Paul, MN

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#8
Feb 27, 2011
 

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Khalid wrote:
An email to Mr. Kalenze; Do not take my word for anything. But, do not take the word of others either.
Read the facts for yourself. If you decide to read the facts, perhaps you can find answers to some of these questions:
Why did TiZA forge the signature of their own sponsor's president at least seven times?
Why did they forge a document and falsely list me as treasurer of their affiliated organization that is accused of funneling close to one-million-tax dollars?
Why did executive director, Asad Zaman tell parents that it is illegal for them to talk to the department of education about any concerns they have?

Khalid, you must continue to do your part, and to spread the truth. Be strong and prosper in your information. Do not let these evil-doers intimidate you, the true Somali-AMERICANs deserve better than this.......
Terese

Stillwater, MN

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#9
Feb 27, 2011
 

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There is nothing to stop TIZA from becoming a private school. Why should the American public support the promotion of Islam, and all the rest of the unfair practices that have been outlined, at TIZA? Catholic schools have been operating in the United states without public funding,(except for lunch subsidies and non-religious textbooks and busing) for more than 100 years. This is a big reason that the ACLU got involved. They don't want to fund the teaching of religion in a public/charter school.
Welp

Saint Paul, MN

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#10
Feb 27, 2011
 

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Terese wrote:
There is nothing to stop TIZA from becoming a private school. Why should the American public support the promotion of Islam, and all the rest of the unfair practices that have been outlined, at TIZA? Catholic schools have been operating in the United states without public funding,(except for lunch subsidies and non-religious textbooks and busing) for more than 100 years. This is a big reason that the ACLU got involved. They don't want to fund the teaching of religion in a public/charter school.
Mr. Kalenze speaks as a dedicated educator. The ACLU, a "private" institution, should use its litigation resources to fight significant and dangerous constitutional wrongdoing, not such a relatively insignificant legal matter.
Sumaya

Saint Paul, MN

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#11
Feb 27, 2011
 

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Khalid needs to get a job.

I appreciate Mr. Kalenze's editorial on TIZA's success. Thank you.

You know, a public school teacher or administrator can have a personal conviction to do good for students that stems from their religious belief (or not) but that does not make the school itself secular. I encourage the staff at TIZA to stay strong.

When the dust settles, all of Khalid's questions will be answered by lawyers and judges. You can sling mud, or you can let the lawsuit take its course.
Mark Erickson

Saint Paul, MN

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#12
Feb 27, 2011
 
test
Next

Saint Paul, MN

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#13
Feb 27, 2011
 

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Welp wrote:
<quoted text>
Mr. Kalenze speaks as a dedicated educator. The ACLU, a "private" institution, should use its litigation resources to fight significant and dangerous constitutional wrongdoing, not such a relatively insignificant legal matter.
Urban liberal dope. TIZA administrators have lied, manipulated, stalled for years. The school should get no public money.
Tamerlane

Tallahassee, FL

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#14
Feb 28, 2011
 

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Welp wrote:
<quoted text>
Mr. Kalenze speaks as a dedicated educator. The ACLU, a "private" institution, should use its litigation resources to fight significant and dangerous constitutional wrongdoing, not such a relatively insignificant legal matter.
Bologna.

Enforcement of the Establishment clause is never an insignificant legal matter.

As if that is for you to say.
Sarah D

Saint Paul, MN

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#15
Feb 28, 2011
 

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Welp wrote:
<quoted text>
Mr. Kalenze speaks as a dedicated educator. The ACLU, a "private" institution, should use its litigation resources to fight significant and dangerous constitutional wrongdoing, not such a relatively insignificant legal matter.
This is NOT an insignificant legal matter. TIZA is suppose to be a public school with funding by the government. If it is a religious school, it is violating the separation of church and state which is a constitutional matter. If it is misusing funds and intimidating parents to remain silent and not talk to the Dept. of Education (which they have a right to do without the permission of ANYONE from TIZA) this too is a SIGNIFICANT legal matter.

Apparently you are not familiar with the ACLU. It ALWAYS has involved itself in matters regarding separation of church and state. It also involves itself in matters regarding free speech. It is alleging that TIZA has violated BOTH.

Whether or not this is proven is up to a court. But believe me, this case is exactly the kind of case that the ACLU deals with.
Catholic Leader

Ridgecrest, CA

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#16
Feb 28, 2011
 

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Perhaps an educator before writing such dribble, should first learn who are the Islamic Relief, TiZA's sponsoring agency, and their connections with the Muslim Brotherhood. Give the FBI a call if you need references to read the list.
Many charter schools that purport to help immigrant children acclimate to their new American culture actually do the opposite by segregating them from the mainstream culture. Tarek ibd Zayad was a ruthless killer, a general who followed Sharia law and crucified all who would not convert to islam..and that_ is the basis for acclimating children to America? I don't see any charter schools called, Adolf Hitler School or Mao Academy..but we have T.I.Z.Academy and their imam. the former President of MAS, running the show there?
BTW< public funded charter schools can not be used by any religious groups to cultivate religion. Funny that TIZA schools refuse to fly the American Flag as our MN state statute requires of all schools. Hmmm_
Jus Sayin

Minneapolis, MN

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#17
Feb 28, 2011
 

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Catholic Leader wrote:
I don't see any charter schools called, Adolf Hitler School or Mao Academy..but we have T.I.Z.Academy and their imam. the former President of MAS, running the show there?
BTW< public funded charter schools can not be used by any religious groups to cultivate religion. Funny that TIZA schools refuse to fly the American Flag as our MN state statute requires of all schools. Hmmm_
A charter named after Sir Thomas Moore, Robert Bellarmine or GK Chesterton would never fly even though they are exemplary of Western values and societal contribution. I have a funny feeling that the powers that be would give the green light to the Anton Lavey School for the Oppostionally Defiant Disordered.
Khalid

Saint Paul, MN

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#18
Mar 1, 2011
 

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What a low and cowardly statement by so-called "fairness". This is exactly the type of behavior I have come to expect from TiZA's leaders and supporters.
And Sumaya, I do not have questions that need answering by the lawsuit. I have evidence and personal experience that I have made public that confirm that everything I have said is completely truthful.
The lawsuit's outcome will do nothing to change the fact that TiZA's leaders have engaged in forgeries, lies and deception and that they have tried to bully and intimidate people who dare to expose the truth about them, even children.
These are facts. They are irrefutable. And the lawsuit's outcome can do nothing to change them. It can, however, hold them accountable.
Just a thought

Savage, MN

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#19
Mar 1, 2011
 

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Khalid wrote:
What a low and cowardly statement by so-called "fairness". This is exactly the type of behavior I have come to expect from TiZA's leaders and supporters.
And Sumaya, I do not have questions that need answering by the lawsuit. I have evidence and personal experience that I have made public that confirm that everything I have said is completely truthful.
The lawsuit's outcome will do nothing to change the fact that TiZA's leaders have engaged in forgeries, lies and deception and that they have tried to bully and intimidate people who dare to expose the truth about them, even children.
These are facts. They are irrefutable. And the lawsuit's outcome can do nothing to change them. It can, however, hold them accountable.
I have read your posts with interest, and there are a few issues that would seem to need to be addressed. First and foremost is the fact that a religious school is being funded by the State. Second is oversight. If financial mismanagement and intimidation by staff is indeed occurring, it has to stop. Third is whether the school is or is not educating this group of kids.

I guess I'm trying to get my head around what most people might agree would be "reasonable accommodation" during the school day for religious purposes. I don't support a public school that requires religious dress or any religious adherence. This is the purpose of private schools.

So then I find myself wondering...say we abolish the school and disperse the students to public schools. What will these schools do to "reasonably accommodate" these kids who are Muslim? This really has no precedent. Will parents then complain that these kids are holding the classes back (many ESL learners)?

I have to say that if the test scores haven't been fabricated (and I believe that the State has shown they're accurate), that at the very least, these kids appear to be learning. Aside from all politics, religious issues, and mismanagement, do you believe they have done a good job educating this group of kids?
Concerned

Philadelphia, PA

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#21
Mar 2, 2011
 

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Khalid, you are the only parent who is complaining about your child being intimidated by Tiza staff. There hundreds of parents in the school who have not complained about it.There is no complaint from any parent to the MDE about this issue. It seems like you have grudge against some of the school management and you are spreading lies about the school and the school management. I hope the people writing comments here understand that this is about education of the kids. The author of this article is talking about the academic achievement of the school and the opportunity to learn from this school management and staff to replicate in other schools. I leave it up to the court and the judge to decide if the school is voilating any constitutional law or they are just allegations by ACLU. Here is a link to the court hearing about allowing parents and kids rights to be defended which ACLU has been ignoring since the beginning of the Lawsuit. The case number is 10-2326.
http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/oralargs/oaFrame....
Khalid

Saint Paul, MN

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#22
Mar 3, 2011
 

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Concerned, "it seems" that you are sticking to TiZA's talking points like "fairness" did. And it seems like you both have been sent to make anonymous posts and attack me personally because you cannot refute my claims, which are corroborated in the lawsuit.
Why do you not provide us links to deposition statements and motions that show that TiZA's leadership forged documents, misrepresented facts and showed a pattern and history of lying to the department of education and Islamic Relief?
I have no such history of lying, which is exactly why TiZA/MAS-MN leaders asked me to help them and act as their spokesperson. They knew I would give them credibility they did not have. But, once I discovered how pervasive their troubling behavior was, I spoke up and they turned on me and my family.
This is definitely about the kids. But, it is about all of the kids. The kids who are still at TiZA and the kids who were forced out because their parents spoke up.
Justathought, I tried to reply to your question, but it doesn't appear it posted. The short answer is that I am not an educator. But, I am a parent engaged in my child's education. And my opinion is that the students would be better served in a different environment and under better leadership. But, that is not for me to decide.

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