ABCs OF SCIENTOLOGYTutoring program hides close ties to church founder Hubbard
By Noreen O’Donnell. The Daily. Monday, April 9, 2012http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/04/09 ... oring-1-2/
With Uncle Sam’s help, underprivileged kids across the country are being exposed to the ideas of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Scores of public school districts are using a tutoring program with close ties to Scientology, according to tax documents filed by Applied Scholastics International, a nonprofit that promotes Hubbard’s teaching methods. The group has government approval to provide federally funded after-school tutoring in 12 states, including California, Texas and Florida.
On its most recent IRS records, Applied Scholastics reported that 248 public schools purchased its services in 2010 — three times as many as in 2009, when it worked with 74 schools. The group claims to have provided tutoring to more than 1,600 students.
Applied Scholastics gained a toehold in public education a decade ago through the No Child Left Behind law, one provision of which requires failing schools, typically in poorer communities, to offer tutoring to low-income students. Federal funds are used to pay tutors who meet criteria set by each state.
“I think that the school districts that are buying into this particular program may or may not know that the Church of Scientology is printing this garbage up,” said Christine Anderson, a San Antonio mother who got Scientology-linked teaching materials removed from her son’s middle school seven years ago.
“The claim that they’re an independent organization is a fiction,” said David Touretzky, a professor in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University who has written extensively about Scientology.
Touretzky said Applied Scholastics is staffed by Scientologists; it familiarizes students with Scientology terms and allows them to become comfortable with its ideas. As an academic program, it lacks credibility, he and others said.
“It’s garbage,” Touretzky said. “Kids benefit from adults who pay attention to them and are interested in seeing them learn, and so I can’t say that Applied Scholastics is worse than nothing. It may be better than nothing. But it’s certainly not better than other approaches that could be used.”
If parents understood that their children were receiving subtle indoctrination into Scientology, they might choose a different program, he said
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