By Sound Vision Staff Writer
Q: What is the rationale of a full-time Islamic school?
A. Institutions play an important role in the lives of individuals and societies. An Islamic school is important because it:
- Provides Muslim children with an environment in which they can learn and live Islam.
- The homogeneity of their culture and values creates social and emotional stability which facilitates and accelerates their learning in general areas of education (math, science, language arts, etc.).
- They develop a strong sense of belonging to the Muslim Ummah. They not only preserve rich Islamic heritage, but contribute towards development and progress of the Muslim Ummah in general.
Q: If you isolate children from the larger American society would they not be growing in a shell and become unable to interact with the American public in their practical lives?
A: Not at all. First of all, research shows that children, specially younger ones, perform better when they are in familiar social settings. Islamic school certainly gives Muslim children an atmosphere in which they can grow and excel.
Second, the human mind and personality is remarkably capable of adjusting to change. This explains the success of various immigrant communities across America. The members of these communities were born and raised in a totally different culture and environment.
Besides, Muslim children who attend Islamic schools are never totally out of touch with American society. Their exposure to the larger American culture is still considerable. Television, news media, neighborhoods, and non-Muslim staff in their own institutions keep the windows to the larger world wide open.
Research indicates that students who attend private/parochial schools performed better in their lives than their public school counterparts.
Q: Wouldn’t our children suffer educational loss by attending Islamic school?
A: Educational loss or gain has nothing to do with a school being Islamic, Jewish, Catholic or public.
We all know that many public schools, despite their enormous resources and huge bureaucratic set-ups, miserably failed to deliver solid education, strong discipline, or good citizenship.
The quality of education depends on an individual institution and its commitment to excellence.
People who establish an Islamic school must ensure that:
- their academic program is better or at least equivalent to good public schools in their neighborhood and
- their staff is professionally trained and well qualified.
If these two conditions are met, I am sure that the Islamic school’s performance can be no less than that of any good school because all of the other elements of a good school are automatically present in an Islamic setting.
A Gallop Poll defined a good school in the following terms:
- Teachers are interested in their work and in their students.
- Teachers make classes interesting.
- There is variety in the curriculum.
- There is good discipline.
- There is respect for authority.
- There is a good student/teacher relationship.
- There is a good student-to-student relationship.
- There is good equipment.
- There are small classes.
- There is good administration.
We can see that with the exception of number eight (good equipment) which can vary from school to school, all of the elements of a good school are fully present in an Islamic school.
Q. We pay very high taxes which support public education, how can we afford to pay tuition and support Islamic schools?
A: Where there is a will there is a way. Practical difficulties can be overcome if people are fully convinced and committed to the cause. A person who is determined to raise his children Islamically and wants to see them succeed in life will not hesitate to make some sacrifice to achieve this goal.
Islamic schools in general have very low tuition compared to other private schools in the United States. Parents can budget this expense as they budget their rent, car leases, utility bill, and other expenses.
The rewards of sending children to Islamic schools outweigh any expense which parents may incur.