In what can best be described as political correctness on steroids, the New York City Board of Ed has established a school that focuses on teaching "Arabic language and culture."
I was a product of the NYC BOE, I went to NYC public schools nearly my entire childhood. Back then (a scant 20 years ago), people who wanted to get an education in a particular culture or religion would go to a private parochial school. Yeshiva for Jewish kids, Catholic school, etc. Back then the thinking was clear, there was a concept of separation of church and state. If you wanted an education centered around a religious and cultural ethic, you needed to find that type of study outside of the public(ly funded) school system.
However, things have changed quite a bit in the Big Apple. The very city that was attacked in 1993 and in 2001 by radical Muslims (to the tune of nearly 3000 dead innocent civilians) has in fact created a publicly funded school where everyone can learn about Arabic/Islamic culture. This means that so long as you live somewhere within the 50 states of this great country, you too are paying some small amount of your federal contribution to Islamic study. And if you live somewhere within the five boroughs, then you are paying more than a small amount.
But this is more than just an issue of separation of church and state, and it's bigger than just a budgetary concern. This is an insult to the melting pot society, which for well over a hundred years has defined the great city of New York.
Sure, some poor misguided folk, as featured in the linked article, might feel that attending such a school will broaden horizons and create opportunities. However, the vast majority of those attending will be of Islamic heritage. Just like Hispanic kids tend to take Spanish for the easy A, so will Muslim kids make the decision to attend this public madrassa. Add to that the concerns regarding Muslim assimilation into the American culture, their tendency to seclude themselves from the rest of Americana, and the concerns that such self-segregation is at the heart of local terrorist recruitment, the concept of such a school raises a much more negative specter.
Note that no such school on Jewish or Catholic "culture" exists within the public school system, and prayer in school continues to be a hotly debated topic.
Despite my Sisyphean burden of attending NYC public schools for most of my life, I managed to turn out okay. However, the experience has taught me a few things about the school system, most notably what it lacks. And what it lacks is proper teaching, resources, and motivated personnel.
The very last thing the school system needs is to be used, at taxpayer expense, as a politically correct sounding board. And for a city that has been victimized by radical Islam, this smacks of appeasement and weakness – not traits that I generally associate with New York.