Children in the country of Samoa are deeply in need of textbooks and other educational resources, and when schools received help from a company called Applied Scholastics, Samoan educators were eager to make use of them. But as it turns out, behind the generically named teaching company is the controversial Church of Scientology, as ABC News reports.
At least six school in Samoa are now using the teaching methods championed and delivered by Applied Scholastics, and by extension, the Church of Scientology itself. The revelations were made public due to an investigation by The Samoa Observer that the much-appreciated educational tools for Samoan children included books containing the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
At least six schools in Samoa are now using the teaching methods provided by the church and more than a dozen Samoan teachers have reportedly traveled to the group's Missouri headquarters for training.Applied Scholastics advocates for a specific teaching method known as "Study Tech," which was formulated by Hubbard himself, who characterized the program as Scientology's "primary bridge to society." In fact, Applied Scholastics' affiliation with Scientology, while not immediately obvious based on the materials, is far from a secret, with references appearing prominently on the Church of Scientology's website.
"Study Tech is not a gimmicky 'quick-study method' but an exact technology that anyone can use to learn a subject or to acquire a new skill," says an explanation on the site.
Despite the apparent transparency, critics are quick to point out the insidious nature of the program.
"What they don't say is that [Hubbard] was a sociopath and a cult leader," says Dr. David Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon University, who has spent years uncovering and criticizing the Church of Scientology.
Touretzky also decries the validity of the program itself, aside from the questionable affiliation.
"You can't find any school of education or psychology department in the world that supports these ideas — the only place where these concepts are taught are in the religious scripture of the Church of Scientology," he said. "It's harmful, it's bad educational theory and it's covert religious instruction."
Applied Scholastics, despite their inclusion on the Church of Scientology website and other obvious affiliations with the group, continue to deny any allegation that they take direction from the church. They claim that Applied Scholastics is not part of the Church of Scientology or any other religious group.
The company is run by the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), however that group was, in fact, created by and is currently managed through the Church of Scientology.