Northwest Charter School (attempt)

A proposed charter school in the east San Fernando Valley is receiving close scrutiny from Los Angeles Unified School District officials who are concerned about the organizer's ties to the Church of Scientology and are questioning whether church teachings would appear in the new public school.

Advocates of the Northwest Charter School acknowledge that they want to employ teaching methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but say his system emphasizes common-sense strategies appropriate for a public school setting and children of any religion.

After hearing of a possible Scientology link, however, school board President Julie Korenstein placed the charter school proposal on the agenda of the board's closed-door session for discussion Monday. She and other board members expressed concern that the Hubbard materials could violate the separation of church and state...

Scientology was founded by Hubbard in the early 1950s as a movement combining philosophy, modern psychoanalysis and Eastern religion into a system aimed at self-improvement. Criticized as a cult unforgiving of defectors and a front for a profit-driven business, the controversial movement received official status as a tax-exempt religion in 1993 from the Internal Revenue Service.

The author of the Northwest Charter School petition, Los Angeles school district special education teacher Linda Smith, insisted that the teaching approach she wants to employ--known as Applied Scholastics--is nonsectarian...[*]

"Scientology is a religion. This is Hubbard Study Technology. It has nothing to do with religion," said Smith in an interview at Applied Scholastics' central office in Hollywood, just down the street from the Church of Scientology's headquarters. "It's totally above board."

Applied Scholastics President Ian Lyons said the organization is an "independent, nonprofit corporation" separate from the church, with its own board of directors. However, he acknowledged that Bridge Publications, which prints Applied Scholastics materials, also produces literature for the Church of Scientology...
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About Applied Scholastics and Study Technology
Study Technology is a method for learning developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Applied Scholastics is an organization founded to promote the use of Hubbard's Study Technology. It provides training and services. In response to the NCLB requirement that districts offer Supplementary Educational Services to students, Applied Scholastics has been able to become an SES provider in a number of states. For example, read “Controversial church linked to tutors on state list.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/1/2009

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