Most people don’t know that there’s even such a thing as a Scientology School. In truth, there are quite a few of them through the world. These schools operate on Scientology principles, and the education is quite different from those at other schools. If you’re looking for information about how a Scientology school works, written by former students, read on.
What are the names of the major Scientology schools?
- Delphi Academy – This chain of Scientology private schools is considered the ‘upper crust’ of the Scientology education system. Some branches of Delphian schools offer a K-12 curriculum while the smaller schools only offer K-6th grade, but many students spend their entire educational career at Delphi. Delphi Academy has branches in Los Angeles, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Florida, Chicago and Santa Monica. Their flagship campus, which is a boarding school, is located in Oregon.
- True School – Located in the Scientology mecca of Clearwater, Florida, True School is a Hubbard-based elementary program.
- Renaissance Academy – A K-12 Scientology school located in Los Angeles, California.
- Ability Plus – Ability Plus (or A+) is a smaller chain of Scientology schools with branches in several locations across Los Angeles and Colorado.
- Mace-Kingsley Ranch School – The MK Ranch school was located in remote Reserve, New Mexico, and was marketed as a rehabilitation school for troubled teens. Students underwent bootcamp-style manual labor programs, Scientology sessions, and social isolation. Several students who went to this school have reported abuse and maltreatment. The MK Ranch has since been shut down.
- Greenfields School – Private Scientology day and boarding school located in the UK.
- Applied Scholastics – Applied Scholastics is the Church of Scientology’s educational oversight branch. Though AS does not openly affiliate itself with Scientology, its goal is to promote Hubbard’s teaching methods in schools.
Go here for a full list of Applied Scholastics / Scientology schools throughout the world (scroll to the bottom half of the page).
Are the children of non-Scientologists permitted to attend Scientology schools?
Usually. Most Scientology schools will accept, albeit cautiously, non-Scientology students. However, it’s pretty rare that non-Scientologists seek out a Scientology school. As a result, ESK estimates that around 2-5% of students are non-Scientologists. That statistic is a guess based on personal experience, however, and may not be accurate.
Are the teachers formally certified?
This varies from school to school, but usually, no. Most teachers are not governmentally certified to teach children. Usually, teacher training consists of having the teacher study some Scientology courses, and then the teacher must himself do all of the coursework he will be assigning to his students. If you are considering sending your child to a Scientology school, be sure to ask to see hard proof of teacher certification, and check references.
What are the differences between a Scientology school and a public school / regular school?
- With the exception of the lower grades, there are no formal “classes” in Scientology school. Though students study in the same room as each other, they are all working on different subjects. Beginning around the age of 8, each student studies on his own, working from a pre-written “to-do” list, called a checksheet. For example, when a student begins an American history course, he is issued a checksheet and a textbook. The checksheet may say, “read pages 1-5, and then get a checkout on these pages.” After the student reads pages 1-5 on his own, he sees the teacher (or another student who has already passed American History) to “checkout” his knowledge of those pages. The next step on the checksheet may be to write an essay, the next step to read pages 6-10, etc.
- Students are assigned to one teacher for most academic subjects. Usually, reading, writing, math, chemistry, physics, history, etc. are all ‘supervised’ by one teacher. The teacher sits at the front, or roams about the classroom, answering individual students’ questions. Languages, art, and other specialized topics may be taught by someone else, or they may not. The problem here is that many Scientology school lack specialist educators. Rarely does one find a Scientology school with a well-rounded science faculty.
- Courses often require students to use clay to make models of basic and complex educational concepts. Likewise, if a student expresses confusion or a lack of understanding on a certain subject, teachers will often instruct the student to make a “clay demo”. This focus on the “clay table” is a trademark of Scientology schools.
- In a Scientology school, a B is the lowest grade you can get. Scientology schools sometimes use the high grades of their students to tout their program, but the fact is that no one is assigned a grade lower than B.
- E-meters are often used in the Qual division of Scientology schools. E-meters, when used in schools, are usually used to “check” to see if a student doesn’t understand a word or portion of his or her coursework.
- Students are taught to use L. Ron Hubbard’s “Study Tech” to study. This is a huge subject that deserves a page to itself, and we don’t have one yet. For now, look here.
- Scientology schools do not believe in learning disabilities.
- Students are required to keep track of their own progress through a points system. At the end of each day, students tally up their progress ‘points’ and fill in a daily graph. The following quote regarding the points system is taken from an educator who used to work at an Applied Scholastics school (Go here for original doc):”There are stats for student points that each student has to keep for each day. Also there were different stats for courses completed by each of the students that week as well. You understand the different conditions Power, Affluence, Liability, etc., I hope. These are determined by the weekly graphing of your stats. The school I worked at manipulated these by inflating student points. They would take students off of the courses they really needed to get a standard academic education, such as math, history, etc. which take a lot of work and time to get the course completions. Then they would be put on some really educationally benign program of drawing a picture, calling each picture an art course, counting it as a completion, plus taking the points for it.”If they were far behind the previous weeks completions and points, all of the students would draw several pictures, taking an art “completion” for each one and the points that go with it. Also, they would be given silly drills to do that they could complete rapidly and do them over and over and over and take 75 points each time the drill was done and that brought up the student points rapidly. That way going by how many points the students were completing each week made it seem like they were doing a lot of work, but the thing is, it was quantity work and NOT quality work. All of these many completions and student points looked really great on paper. My, how much work it appeared the students were doing. HA!! Of course the work was useless as far as what really needed to be done for the students legitimate high school studies.”
- After a student finishes a course, the examiner will ask him/her, “Would you like to write a success story?” ‘No’ is not an acceptable answer to this question. Scientology schools later use these success stories to show how well their students are doing.
- At the larger schools, the teacher does not grade exams. Exams are taken in a different branch of the school. At the smaller schools, teachers give exams themselves to one student at a time.
- Because students are working at their own pace, they do not necessarily graduate at age 18. They may graduate much earlier or much later.
So what makes these schools ‘Scientology’ schools?
The student graphing, heavy focus on clay demos, and the self-study checksheet-checkout method were all devised by L. Ron Hubbard. These are exactly the same study methods that are used in a standard Scientology church courseroom.
The discipline and punishment methods are also those used in Scientology churches. Students are taught at a very young age to write reports on the doings and wrong-doings of others, including themselves, and give these reports to the disciplinary officer, called the “ethics officer”. Some believe this creates a safe environment where students apply discipline to themselves and each other, but this causes other students to feel unsafe, stripped of privacy, and unable to trust their peers.
Punishment is also meted out “the Scientology way”. Students who get in trouble are sent to see the ethics officer. Typical “reform” activities include having the student write down every wrongdoing he can think of that he has ever committed, and give this report to the ethics officer. The ethics officer keeps these reports in the student’s file. Students are also often asked to “do conditions”. For more information about conditions, go here.
Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, while Scientology schools bill themselves as non-denominational, anyone who persists in expressing a reluctance to participate in the Scientology-heavy aspects of the curriculum is punished or expelled. There have even been one or two reports of well-behaved Scientology children getting thrown out of Scientology schools because their parents were in trouble with the church.
The use of E-meters is also a little on the Scientology side, wouldn’t ya say?
Is there any actual Scientology on the curriculum?
Curriculums differ from school to school, but usually, yes. Most Scientology schools include introductory Scientology courses as part of the required curriculum. The most frequently seen courses are the Basic Study Manual, which teaches the student to use and apply Hubbard’s “study tech” (a self-described ‘learning method’), and the Communication Course, in which teaches Hubbard’s principles of handling interpersonal relationships.
Scientology educators will often tell you that these courses are *not* Scientology courses, but were devised by L. Ron Hubbard to help children study effectively. This is a falsehood. The Basic Study Manual is an adaptation of the Student Hat Course, while the Communication Course is a for-children version of the Pro TRs course. Both the Student Hat and Pro TRs are trademarked Church of Scientology training courses, available only at Scientology centers.
Is there much drug / alcohol abuse at Scientology schools?
Happily, no. In fact, as hard as it may be to believe in this day and age, drug and alcohol abuse rarely happens on campus. Scientology kids are very, very opposed to drugs, and are even hesitant to take mild painkillers. This attitude, coupled with faculty encouragement for students write reports on the misdeeds of their fellows, are key factors in creating this drug-free environment.