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By: Peter O'Dowd on 02/28/2013
The head of the state’s charter school board has found no reason to be concerned that teaching materials used in a Phoenix charter school have links to the Church of Scientology.
A mailing from the Church of Scientology describes the link between the church and Applied Scholastics.
DeAnna Rowe, executive director of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, said she has reviewed teaching material used in the Career Success district, and found nothing specific that shows the schools taught or promoted the beliefs of Scientology to their students.
"Overall it appears to promote the need to respect another's religious beliefs," Rowe wrote in an email.
A KJZZ investigation earlier this month found that some former teachers were uncomfortable being trained to use Applied Scholastics study tools that were created by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Teachers were also asked to distribute Hubbard’s Way to Happiness booklets, which are described as a guide to moral living.
The Career Success District and the Church of Scientology have said the materials are non religious.
But the Church openly promotes both Applied Scholastics and The Way to Happiness and there are potentially troubling similarities between Scientology religious doctrine and the content distributed in the Phoenix charter school, according to First Amendment lawyer Doug Mirell.
The state board of education, which is separate from the charter school board, has not responded to requests to review the content.