Katherine Kersten: New Minnesota charter schools heading into a legal minefield

Katherine Kersten:

The Minnesota Department of Education has received applications for three new taxpayer-funded charter schools.
They include Howard and Mattie Smith Academy, a K-3, 9-12 school proposed for Minneapolis, named for two legendary preachers at Shiloh Temple Church. Another is The Academy, a 10-12 Minneapolis school, and the third is a 7-12 school, St. Paul Rising Sun.
A new charitable organization, Minnesota Education Trust (MET), has applied to sponsor all three schools, and at one point sought to assume sponsorship of a fourth — the Academy for Food Sciences and Agriculture, whose name evokes Minnesota’s heartland. “Minnesota Education Trust” sounds pretty generic, but the name seems to convey a clear sense of the organization’s mission.
Or does it?
MET’s “principal goals” are set forth in its articles of incorporation, filed with the secretary of state in May 2007. The first goal listed is “to promote the message of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims and promote understanding between them.” Other goals include building a virtuous society and providing education to children and adults. The final goal is to “support schools, community centers, mosques and other organizations that serve the above goals.”