Sunday, May 31, 2009

Interview with Founder of Georgia Student Scholarship Organization

On August 4, 2008, I posted a blog entry discussing the state of Georgia's new law which allowed Georgia residents to divert a portion of their state income taxes to student scholarship organizations which would pay the money to accredited private schools in Georgia to pay for children transitioning from public schools.

On May 20, 2009, I conducted an interview with Ziad Minkara, the founder of Liberty Scholarship Foundation. To my knowledge, he is the only Muslim involved with a student scholarship organization. I encourage you to listen to the interview to understand aspects of the school choice movement and how you can support such efforts.

In addition, South Carolina is considering similar legislation. Americans United for Seperation of Church and State is hosting a debate on this proposed legislation on Sunday, June 7, at 6 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbia at 2701 Heyward St, Columbia, SC, 29205. Below is a description of the event.
Sen. Robert Ford's bill to give tuition tax credits to families to pull their kids out of public schools may have died in this last session of the General Assembly, but you can bet that the issue of "school choice" is not deceased. We will debate the issue of tuition tax credits in particular and of school choice in general at our upcoming AU meeting. Tim Moultrie, a Libertarian candidate for SC Superintendent of Education, will argue for the merits of school choice, while Ronny Townsend, former Representative from Anderson and Chair of the SC House Education and Public Works Committee, will advocate for public education. Both will also take questions from the audience. This should be an informative and invigorating discussion.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Review: Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages (The Series) by Rosen Publishing

I read two books in the series Great Muslim Philosophers and Scientists of the Middle Ages by Rosen Publishing. They were the books about al-Khawarizmi and al-Biruni.

I liked both books for the following reasons:

  1. They were in general not "religious", meaning they did not attribute scientific progress or lack thereof to religion, particularly Islam. When discussed, secular factors, primarily sponsorship by the wealthy and powerful, were identified as the cause of scientific progress.
  2. They contained illustrations with informative captions, sidebars introducing tangential lines of inquiry, and discussions of the subjects' ideas and their place in their intellectual milieu.
  3. They have a glossary and a recommended reading list.
I got these two books from my public library. I encourage librarians to acquire these books. For this blog, I'm planning to start tagging books I believe appropriate for public libraries with the tag "Good for Public Library."

The publisher recommends this for grades 5-8. I think it could benefit students at all levels, yet the writing is accessible to the younger age group the publisher recommends.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Review: Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad by Marnia Lazreg

Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad, by Marnia Lazreg, is an eloquent plea to end torture. Professor Marnia pursues a historical, anthropological and philosophical inquiry into France's use of torture in its war against Algerian independence from 1954-1962.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Review: Al-Mudarris Quran Software

MuslimMatters.org published a review of Al-Mudarris Quran Software.

I have not used the software or any software like it.