The lead applicant of what would have been the city’s first Chinese dual-language charter school is calling the state’s education department out for putting a premature axe to the bid.
According to the New York State Education Department, the application for The Whole Elephant Charter School, proposed by Dr. Lotus King Weiss, was deemed incomplete and was therefore rejected from full evaluation by the state’s review panel.
Weiss did not provide school trustee background information forms for the required minimum of five proposed founding board members, education officials said, and she also failed to provide evidence of the required public review process.
Curriculum for the Flushing-based Chinese language and culture institution would have included martial arts training, traditional painting techniques and East Asian language courses for 120 kindergarten through fifth grade students in the first year and 400 in the fifth.
“The kind of work we are doing uniquely in Flushing is facing a lot of difficulties. I knew it was going to reach a lot of obstacles. My philosophy is always to try to reach out and educate,” Weiss said. “For me, I think the charter school office needs to be educated too. I don’t feel they are genuinely working for the general public.”
Weiss, who said Flushing kids would lose out on a “potentially wonderful education,” accused the department of unfoundedly throwing out her application based on hidden discrimination. She said her plans to incorporate the now-controversial ancient slow-moving exercise called Falun Gong or Falun Dafa — relatable to the modern version of tai chi or yoga — stirred up fear and ultimately led to the expulsion of her application.
The practice, which is not a religion, Weiss said, was prohibited in China after 1999 when the former leader of the Chinese Community Party, Jiang Zemin, ordered a nationwide crackdown of the extremely popular exercise technique.