Friday, March 29, 2013

From Advance Indiana

Indianapolis Islamic School Accused Of Cheating On ISTEP Exam

 The Indiana Supreme Court this past week held that Indiana’s Choice Scholarship program did not violate the Indiana Constitution’s prohibition on the drawing of funds from the state’s treasury for religious purposes. Under the school voucher program, parents are permitted to send their children to a private school of their choice instead of a public school and the state’s Dept. of Education will provide them a voucher to pay for their tuition at the private school. Nearly all of the schools participating in the Choice Scholarship program are religious schools, including Indianapolis’ MTI School of Knowledge, also known as the Islamic School of Indianapolis.

Tonight, WRTV’s Call 6 Investigator Rafael Sanchez is reporting that MTI is under investigation for providing answers to its students before taking the state-mandated ISTEP examination. According to Sanchez, the school’s website boasts that its students have won multiple scholarships, and that when it comes to standardized tests, “the school does not teach to the test.” But he reports the school is accused of an even greater offense-cheating.

But sources tell the Call 6 Investigators that fourth graders were given access to questions on the math and science ISTEP before taking the actual exam.

Sources said the school received the questions from the actual test and created practice sheets for students to study.

When the kids began taking the official test, several of the questions looked the same, because they had seen them.

When the Call 6 Investigators visited the school, Principal Sheik Tewfik Choukri said he was preparing a prayer and told his staff he could not respond to RTV6’s questions.

The Department of Education says it does not comment on possible, pending or on-going investigations . . .

Sanchez’ report indicates that most of the students who attend the school are recipients of the state’s Choice Scholarship program. The school could face several sanctions, including their state funding (