Conservatives, Education, Guest Post, Tea Party — January 22, 2015 at 8:33 am

GUEST POST: Chartering of tea party school by Brighton Area Schools would be a huge mistake


I have been writing about the efforts of a tea party-driven group called “American Christian Classical Academies” (ACA) to open a religion-based school in Brighton and their push to have Brighton Area Schools to be their chartering organization. Having purchased the Lindbom Elementary School from BAS for the tidy sum of $1.45 million, ACA, led by extremist Pasquale Battaglia, are pushing hard for BAS to charter their school. Battaglia is on the record saying that he wants to open the school using our tax dollars and then to detach from the public school system:

We will provide an education option tuition free working toward autonomy from the government and the government run public school systems…

But first Battaglia needs to get his hands on some of those sweet, sweet tax dollars to get his project off the ground. He has, in fact, already received $100,000 to open an ACA school in Warren which has still not happened despite his having received the grant during the 2012-2013 legislative session.

Glenn Ikens, a Brighton parent, is part of an active coalition of concerned parents in trying to prevent Battaglia’s tea party school from being chartered by BAS. Those parents will attend the BAS school board meeting next Monday, January 26, 2015 (details HERE) to continue their fight and they invite you to join them.

Today’s guest post was written by Ikens. He writes eloquently about how chartering the ACA school would damage the BAS and be bad for their school system.

“I develop schools. I want well trained, armed teachers in classes,” declares Pasquale Battaglia, founder of the American Classical Academy, in a tweet that has recently surfaced. These are the staunch words of a man whose group recently finalized the purchase of the vacant Lindbom Elementary School building and who continues vigorously to lobby the Brighton Area Schools board of education in an attempt to get our district to charter his envisioned Lindbom Classical Academy.

This is just another alarming (perhaps the most alarming) revelation from the man who would open his “school” in our community. For more than a year, our school board has known of his hostile and insensitive views targeting race, gender, religion, political affiliation, and even the lawful functioning of the United States government. His recently revealed enthusiasm for arming teachers is yet another example of the very real danger Mr. Battaglia and his organization represent to our Brighton Area Schools and to our community. Given Mr. Battaglia’s rogue views, it is not inconceivable that we could wind up with a rogue school with a fully armed staff right in the heart of a Brighton neighborhood. This would most certainly change the atmosphere of our community, damaging our reputation and our standing at large. Even more, it is a sad and threatening prospect to consider the possible tragedy an armed school might bring to our own doorsteps.

Now there are those who claim we should not confuse this man and his hair-trigger views with the policies of the school he promotes. There are those who claim (even Mr. Battaglia himself) that he is merely a real-estate broker, a landlord, who will have no real influence over the Lindbom Academy. Yet these claims – which he initiated only after his provocative on-line persona became a liability for opening his school – ring hollow. In fact, he is listed as ACA’s founder on his LinkedIn profile. He is the apparent author of the ACA’s mission statement. In the tweet shared above he explicitly claims to “develop schools” and implies he will have control over staff and policy. He personally solicited board members for his Lindbom Academy from within the ranks of his local Tea Party. Moreover, he is the prime mover and promoter who appears in every article in the Livingston Daily Press & Argus as spokesman for the ACA. Despite his claims of a limited role, his fingerprints are all over the ACA’s history, philosophy, and actions. Adding it all up, it is clear Mr. Battaglia and the ACA are inseparable and it is safe to assume that dealing with the future Lindbom Classical Academy means dealing with Mr. Battaglia first and foremost and finally.

The real mystery is why our elected school board won’t sever ties with the mysterious Mr. Battaglia and his scheme. Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported on January 15th that our new board president Jay Krause says he “doesn’t have enough details at this time to comment on whether it [chartering the ACA] would be a good step for the district” – this in spite of his sitting on the board meeting after board meeting this past year, during which it has been revealed that American Classical Academy is really a thinly veiled reinvention of the American Christian Academy; at which ACA founder Battaglia’s racist and religiously insensitive tweets have been shared before a gasping audience; at which the ACA’s cynical plan to take public funds and work toward “complete autonomy” and to “sever” all ties with government oversight has been revealed. Now that the board knows of Mr. Battaglia’s zeal for arming staff, will the board finally admit any step in the ACA’s direction is a bad step?

We do not need affiliation with a school that has a founder who expresses open hostility to inclusive and progressive public education, who berates and degrades those who differ in their political and religious views, and who shockingly declares his teachers will be armed. The Brighton School Board must stop entertaining Mr. Battaglia’s overtures to charter his American Classical Academy. He has acquired our building, an unfortunate outcome in itself. He must not acquire our endorsement as a chartering institution. The only responsible action for the school board is to end their association with ACA immediately.

Glenn Ikens
Resident of Brighton
Parent of Brighton Students