Salim, PLEASE the more you speak the more ridiculous you appear. Stop the lying and side stepping!
Gee, Sam, sorry you feel that way – but it just isn’t so. Perhaps if Sam had not taken so long to answer Ron Regan’s question about why Concept did not hire American teachers – he would have had more “air” time instead of “Oh! Crap! How am I going to answer that question,” time.
It’s amusing how the boys love the media when the media is covering their orchestrated events and it fits into their public relation schema, but when it comes down to some serious and not so pleasant insight into their operations, they get a little testy and defensive.
Sam claims that Channel 5 was “sensationalizing” the illegal immigration fee payments. And tell us, exactly how did Channel 5 misrepresent the evidence and findings from the government? The audits speak for themselves and as far as the excuse – we thought it would be okay because “private” companies pay for their employees’ families…” Did someone forget to tell Sam, the Vice-President of Concept Schools, that their schools are publicly funded with taxpayer funds?
And we love Sam’s response about how a bunch of Turkish businessmen wanted to “Raise the bar in Science and Math in Ohio,” and decided that only they could do that – hence the reason to bring over so many H1B visa holders (the majority of whom were Gulen-inspired Turkish men). Sure that makes sense – an alleged shortage of educated, qualified, and licensed American teachers, so bring over – at the cost of American taxpayers -- unlicensed, unqualified, Turkish “teachers” (the majority whom had never taught), and who have limited English reading and writing skills, in order to “raise the bar” on American education.
As a side note, did anyone catch the recent Turkish article stating that the Turkish government is planning to recruit 40,000 English speaking teachers to teach Turkish students English because their reading and writing skills are so low? Wow! Finally an answer to our unemployment issues – we can send all of the American teachers who have involuntarily forfeited their jobs to Turkish H1B visa holders and send them to Turkey to teach the guys they are sending here to take their jobs.
Another point of interest is Sam’s assertion that there are not any current federal investigations of Concept/Horizon schools currently going on. Well, Sam exactly how sure are you? We hope Sam realizes that the “federal” government includes the Department of Labor, the FBI, and Homeland Security. And Sam, we would be happy to share our contacts with you for verification purposes.
It also seems that Sam is really upset about Mary Addi. In his rebuttal, he states, “Third, Mr. Regan’s report on Channel 5 Cleveland, which is used as a reference in other stories, included an interview with a disgruntled former employee named Mary Addi who was terminated in 2009 after she was discovered working a second job on company time. She later filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which was investigated and denied."
The part that Sam left out is that Mary Addi was employed by Horizon/Concepts Schools at 3 different times. That’s right 3. So if Mary Addi was such a bad -- bad -- bad --"disgruntled " employee – then how is it that Horizon hired her not once, not twice, but instead -- 3 times?
According to Sam, Mary Addi, “Later filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which was investigated and denied.”
In fact, Mary Addi filed discrimination charges (retaliation, discrimination based on nationality, age, and gender, and harassment), with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (also a federal agency Sam) in July 2008, prior, not after, her termination of employment, or as Sam would say, “Upon being released.” And the findings were not “denied,” as Sam alleges, in fact, the findings were inconclusive, allowing for Ms. Addi to sue in civil court in the future...
Here’s another excerpt from Sam’s rebuttal, and more specifically, his explanation about “Marry Addi and her husband". Sam states, “Upon being released, Marry Addi and her husband, who was an H1B employee at one of our schools, Horizon Science Academy Denison, filed a complaint to US Department of Labor in 2008. Since then Department of Labor has been auditing/investigating this complaint in a particular school, Horizon Science Academy Denison. We hereby underline one more time that there is no federal Investigation on our schools or Concept as the news stories suggests. "
So which is it Sam, is the federal government investigating or not? First you admit that there is an ongoing DOL investigation, and then “underline one more time that there is no federal investigation on our schools.” Sam – one more time – the Department of Labor is a federal agency.
And Sam, wasn't "Marry Addi released," in February 2009, but according to your statement, the complaint was filed with the DOL in 2008, making it once again -- before and not after --Marry Addi's release."
Sam’s explanation about the 9% H1B visa holders either teaching or “administrating” in Concept Schools is that “Whenever it makes sense, Horizon Science Academies hire Ohio teachers and support staff.” We would really like to know what “makes sense,” to Sam, because it does not makes sense to us when Ohio’s unemployment rate in 2010 was hovering at 10%, and there was an abundance of unemployed, qualified, and licensed American teachers ready and willing to work, then why there are still 9% H1B staff members employed at the Ohio Concept Schools. Surely Sam, with all of the unemployed teachers in Ohio, Concept could find 9% more American teachers to fill those spots.
Further, how does it “make sense,” that 99%, if not 100% of their schools, do not currently have, nor have they ever employed -- a female -- American Director, Business Manager, or Dean of Academics (except for the phantom position Sagnak gave out when he was having his "Identity Crisis" -- but that's another blog), and instead, have filled those positions with Turkish or other foreign national men?
And talk about “sensationalism,” how about Sam’s pitch about the success of Concept schools. Sam states, “Our results speak for themselves with Blue Ribbon Awards, “Excellent” and “Excellent with Distinction” ratings, demand by parents and students, and most importantly 100% college acceptance for many years.” But Sam forgot to include the state’s school ratings of all of the Concept schools which does not include all “Excellent, and Excellent with Distinction Ratings.” In fact, some of their schools are on “Academic Watch, and “Continuous Improvement status.”
Here’s the real deal Sam, and it is not “sensational,” except to say that you guys have been operating under the radar for the past 10 years and the gig is up. It’s not going to be business as usual anymore. So suck it up and expect that those federal agencies and ensuing investigations -- that you so loudly protest do not exist -- do in fact, and will continue as long as you guys continue to violate the rights of American employees, misuse taxpayer funds, and participate in the other nefarious acts that your organization has been so comfortably accustomed to.
Below is Sam’s rebuttal:
Concept’ s rebuttal of recent news stories in Ohio
May 19, 2011
To our Faculty, Parents, Friends and Supporters:
Recently, there have been news stories on local channels in Ohio about Concept managed schools; Horizon Science Academies and Noble Academies. Those stories use Ron Regan’s story on Cleveland’s Channel 5 that aired on Monday, May 16, 2011 as a reference. As often happens with television news, those stories, including Ron Regan’s Channel 5 story, are edited in a way that, in our view, mislead viewers about the operation of Horizon Science Academies in Ohio. As those stories seem to revolve around a few same issues I am writing to set the record straight and clarify any confusion raised by those reports.
First, such reports attempt to sensationalize the repayment by Horizon Science Academy employees of certain immigration fees and expenses as documented in various school audits.
As most people know, charter schools in Ohio are audited annually by the Auditor of State’s Office. Back in 2001 when Betty Montgomery was the Auditor of State, several Horizon Science Academies voluntarily disclosed to the Auditor’s Office certain expenses associated with the immigration of math and science teachers from Turkey who were going to teach at our new schools in Ohio. Horizon Science Academies were founded by Turkish mathematicians and scientists who wanted to raise the bar for math and science education in Ohio. At the time, there was a nationwide shortage of math and science teachers, so we recruited some highly qualified math and science teachers from Turkey. Just as the Cleveland Municipal School District did when it recruited teachers from India in the 1990s and paid for their travel and immigration expenses, so did we. Additionally, we paid these expenses for the spouses and children of our new employees, just like any private company would. The Auditor of State’s Office permitted the expenses for the employees but not their dependents. Audit reports from 2001 show that three Horizon Science Academies, Cleveland High School, Toledo High School, and Columbus High Schools, paid these expenses for 19 employees and some of their family members totaling up to about $13,000. All of these funds were reimbursed at the time the Auditor’s Office made its ruling, not recently as suggested by Mr. Regan and other reporters. Some stories do not even mention the fact that these funds were reimbursed on a timely and swift manner once the auditors brought it to our attention.
Second, these reports raise concerns about hiring out of state teachers and the issuance of H1B visas to some of our employees. These visas are issued to certain workers with skills in short supply in the United States. The Federal Government determines the criteria for issuing these visas. The Horizon Science Academies simply took advantage of a federal visa program at a time when math and science teachers were in short supply. Currently, less than 9% of the workforce in all of the Horizon Science Academies are participating in this government authorized program. Whenever it makes sense, Horizon Science Academies hire Ohio teachers and support staff.
Third, Mr. Regan’s report on Channel 5 Cleveland, which is used as a reference in other stories, included an interview with a disgruntled former employee named Mary Addi who was terminated in 2009 after she was discovered working a second job on company time. She later filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which was investigated and denied.
Upon being released, Marry Addi and her husband, who was an H1B employee at one of our schools, Horizon Science Academy Denison, filed a complaint to US Department of Labor in 2008. Since then Department of Labor has been auditing/investigating this complaint in a particular school, Horizon Science Academy Denison. We hereby underline one more time that there is no federal Investigation on our schools or Concept as the news stories suggests.
Fourth, such reports raise concerns about the Horizon Science Academy in Dayton, which is leasing its facility from an Ohio limited liability company that is owned by a Turkish businessman who was willing to take a risk on the development of this property as a school, when Dayton area banks and others were not. The Dayton school leases the property for $3.78 a square foot, which is a bargain compared to medium grade office space in Dayton, which is leased for $10 a square foot or more. News stories that make this sound like hundreds of thousand of dollars go oversees is nothing but part of an agenda of sensationalizing their stories.
Fifth, some of those reports raise concerns about borrowed money that was repaid to individuals overseas. When our first school opened in Cleveland in 1999 there were financial challenges. The State of Ohio does not provide any facilities funding for charter schools and banks as a rule will not lend to start up charter schools. After attempting to obtain funding in Cleveland, the founder of Horizon Science Academies, Taner Ertekin, reached out to businessmen in Turkey to find short-term non-interest bearing loans. The school paid the loans back. A portion of the loan ($36,000) was paid back via wire transfer. The Auditors never raised any questions about the loan. Instead, the Auditors questioned the method of repayment. We provided the loan documents to the Mr. Regan at Channel 5 Cleveland. It is ridiculous to present this repayment of a non-interest bearing loan as “practice of spending Ohio school tax dollars overseas” and is far from objective and true journalism.
There are 17 Horizon Science Academies and 2 Noble Academies in Ohio. Together they educate about 5000 students each year. More than 95% of Horizon Science Academy students graduate from high school 100% of those students are accepted to college. Our results speak for themselves with Blue Ribbon Awards, “Excellent” and “Excellent with Distinction” ratings, demand by parents and students, and most importantly 100% college acceptance for many years.
Charter schools including ours are high regulated with increased accountability and autonomy. Annual audits by the state auditors and ongoing reporting and oversight is in place. All of the Concept managed schools are not-for-profit organizations with transparency. All of our records and documentations are available for public review. We take pride in the diversity of our community and are proud of every single of our employees, as they are the ones making unprecedented differences in urban communities. What has made successful is our uncompromising focus on our students not on adults as a diverse community. We assure everyone that we will continue doing so and not let anything take away our focus from student achievement.
Should you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 224 388-9953 (cell).