|Prophet Muhammed Fethullah Gulen in seclusion, not wearing his Islamic Imam prayer robe|
Does drop the name "Muhammed"
Monday, January 24, 2011
Gulen Charter Schools in the USA- USA Today Article "Turkish Ties to Charter Schools in question"
Excerpts from USA article:
Top administrators say they have no official ties to Gülen. And Gülen himself denies any connection to the schools. Still, documents available at various foundation websites and in federal forms required of non-profit groups show that virtually all of the schools have opened or operate with the aid of Gülen-inspired "dialogue" groups, local non-profits that promote Turkish culture. In one case, the Ohio-based Horizon Science Academy of Springfield in 2005 signed a five-year building lease with the parent organization of Chicago's Niagara Foundation, which promotes Gülen's philosophy of "peace, mutual respect, the culture of coexistence." Gülen is the foundation's honorary president. In many cases, charter school board members also serve as dialogue group leaders.
Education officials who are familiar with them say the schools aren't trying to proselytize for Gülen's vision of Turkey. While Turkish language and culture are often offered in the curriculum, there's no evidence the schools teach Islam.
But questions about hiring and academics also have arisen in Arizona, where Daisy Education Corp. runs five schools and has received certifications for 120 H-1B visas for foreign teachers since 2002, records show. In Texas, the Cosmos Foundation has filed 1,157 H1-B applications since 2001. It operates 25 Harmony schools statewide. Since 2001, Harmony has imported 731 employees using H-1Bs, surpassing all other secondary education providers nationwide. Parents last year also accused one Harmony school of "pushing out" underperforming students — a charge the Texas Education Agency confirmed.
Ed Fuller, a University of Texas-Austin researcher, found that Harmony schools throughout Texas had an "extraordinarily high" student attrition rate of about 50% for students in grades six through eight.
Crossing the line?
At minimum, the rapid growth of the Turkish-affiliated schools shows how the freewheeling world of charter schools has changed the face of K-12 education in the USA.
In most cases, charters are loosely regulated in exchange for improved performance. A few schools are affiliated with religious groups or offer programs that others can't. But in several cases, a school's orientation has forced it to show that it's not crossing lines and endorsing religion.