As we noted last month, the New Village Academy is a private school in Calabasas set to open its doors Sept. 3, founded by Will Smith and wife/appearances-upholder Jada Pinkett Smith. It has become a source of much controversy for having several Scientologists on its staff, who espouse a number of L. Ron Hubbard-advanced learning concepts in the curriculum: among them, the meaninglessly designated "study technology" programme for effective and complete child mind-absorption. The Smiths—still not public with their Scientology affiliations—claim to only be committed to creating "an ideal educational environment." But Carnegie Mellon University professor David S. Touretzky, who has dissected study technology like a rusty E-meter and found it to be about as useful, warns parents away from this particular learning institution, lest they want to find themselves helping with homework essays entitled, "What I Did on My Billion-Years of Servitude Vacation." From the LAT:
Touretzky said many phrases and concepts on the school's website are specific to Scientology. For example, the school lists a "Director of Qualifications" and another teacher who is an assistant in the "Qual" department. The "Qual," said Touretzky, is where people who have completed a Scientology counseling, or "auditing," session or a course in the Church of Scientology are tested by a qualifications teacher.
"There is no reputable educator anywhere who endorses [study technology]," said Touretzky, a critic of Scientology. "What happens is that children are inculcated with Scientology jargon and are led to regard L.R. Hubbard as an authority figure. They are laying the groundwork for later bringing people into Scientology."
Certainly, these fringe educational techniques should give any parent cause for concern—as should the enrollment procedure, which involves the whisking away of potential students "for testing" by a pair navy-blazered school officials. Several weeks later, a letter comes in the mail alerting the anxious parents that not only did their child "pass our rigorous admissions process with flying colors," but that they could "actually come visit your son or daughter floating in our Subaqueous I.Q.-Infusion Tanks" at mid-semester break.