Gulen's American Empire

Gulen's American Empire
Gulen Empire map from Turkish Newspaper. DISCLAIMER: If you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship who have filed fake copyright infringement reports to UTUBE

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Virginia's Loudoun County fights back against Gulen operated proposed school

From the Loudoun County Public Schools website – dedicated to the “proposed” Gulen Charter school in Loudoun County
Proposed Math and IT Academy 

                  To speak on the charter application at a subcommittee meeting, please call
(571) 2521020 FREE  

 Staff Responses to Questions from the Select Committee - Click here to view.

  • Deputy Superintendent's Report to the School Board (October 23, 2012) - To view the video clip, click here.
  • AACPS Performance Report on Chesapeake Science Point

  • Fatih Kandil and Ali Gokce, the lead applicants for the Loudoun Math and IT Academy charter school, take questions from School Board members Thursday evening
  • Documents presented by LMITA at subcommittee meeting, November 29, 2012 -  to view click on the titles,  Myth vs Fact ;  
  • Why LMITA ; LMITA Respones to Initial Questions

    One of the many articles about the proposed Gulen Charter School in Loudoun County
    School Board Committee: 'Great Concern' Over Proposed Charter School
    Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 9:43 pm
    At an anticipated meeting Thursday, School Board members known as outspoken proponents of charter schools and school choice offered a list of concerns for the proposed math and IT charter school application that only seemed to grow longer with each of the applicants’ rebuttals.
    “There are missing pieces,” School Board member and chair of the Loudoun Math & IT Academy Charter School Committee Jeff Morse (Dulles) said at one point.
    The meeting was the first at which any School Board member had offered an opinion about the application for the Loudoun Math & IT Academy, which is designed by a group of Loudoun parents to serve about 575 sixth- through 12th-grade students.
    After 45 minutes of questions about the proposed school’s teacher requirements, funding plan and lack of curriculum details from Morse, Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Brenda Sheridan (Sterling), it was clear the School Board members were not impressed by the applicants’ answers.
    Sheridan told Fatih Kandil and Ali Gokce, the lead applicants, their comments only heightened her initial concerns.
    “I believe you said, ‘the teacher uses art to teach stuff.’ In reference to the teacher handbook: ‘I don’t have time to deal with that,’ and ‘it’s hard to open a school,’” Sheridan said. “I’m being really honest with you. As someone who’s looking for us to approve your charter school I would think that you would come with the best answers possible and the most information possible… and those answers cause me great concern.”
    Turgeon, a former Loudoun County second-grade teacher, told Kandil and Gokce she was surprised to see so many holes in the instruction and curriculum plan.
    The curriculum plan will be developed after the charter school is approved, if it’s approved, Gokce told Turgeon.
    “In my mind, if I were looking to start a charter, the catalyst for that should have been the curriculum,” Turgeon responded. “I think the curriculum needs to be really, really strong before we can move forward.”
    Sheridan stressed that charter schools are supposed to supplement what a public school system is not providing. Since the Loudoun Math & IT Academy application went public early this year, the applicants have touted their plan to provide free Saturday tutoring, field trips, career days and heavy parent involvement.
    But Sheridan said Loudoun’s public schools already offer that, and there is never a promise that parents will be engaged in their children’s school. “How is it going to be different and more opportunistic for the students?” she asked. “For me, the proof’s in the pudding.”
    Gokce told her that, because Loudoun Math & IT Academy will be a school of choice, parents will be more willing to get involved, which will provide students with unique opportunities. “What we envision is to create an academic powerhouse where the students who want to learn will come to this school, and the environment will be conducive to learning. And all of these extra curriculum activities and clubs will be centered around that.”
    The School Board members also asked Gokce and Kandil why they looked to only one charter school—Chesapeake Science Point in Anne Arundel County, MD—as a model when designing Loudoun Math & IT Academy. While Chesapeake Science Point boasts student assessments 26 points above the state’s average and a close-to-perfect attendance rate at 97.3 percent, it also has been cited for financial missteps in a report by Anne Arundel Public County Schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell.
    “The problems at CSP do not have to be repeated here in Loudoun,” Gokce said, adding that he looked to the Maryland because it’s a successful, working model.
    Kandil, a South Riding resident, is a former principal of Chesapeake Science Point.
    The current School Board has been most outspoken about their support for the possibility of opening a charter school in Loudoun. Six School Board members were elected last year on pro-school choice campaigns, and n June, the board adopted a new process to vet charter applications that is more charter school-friendly.
    In a public hearing at the end of the committee meeting, the outspoken group in opposition to the charter school was visibly enthusiastic by the School Board member’s comments. They cheered one another on as they offered comments of their own—some for sixth or seventh time in the past three months—about why they do not support the charter school.
    Several of their concerns still centered around allegations that the group of parents behind the charter school are tied to a Turkish cleric named Fethullah Gulen, who preaches modern Islam and is believed to be behind a large movement of charter schools across worldwide. Others offered concerns about the lack of answers about the school’s academic plan.
    Michelle Edwards, who has four children in Loudoun’s public schools, said the school system’s focus should be instead on reinstating some of the program cuts that have been made in recent years. “I’ve watched funding be cut for summer school classes and special education… I’ve paid for tutoring out of my own pocket,” she said. “If there is going to be a surplus, it is clear it needs to be put into LCPS.”
    About six individuals, however, spoke in favor of the charter school, and more specifically to a program that would expand Loudoun’s information technology curriculum.
    South Riding resident Dean Stiles, who’s son has applied to Academy of Science and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, said the county needs more opportunity for students who do not make it into one of those sought-after schools.

    “I’m trying to understand how this is bad for Loudoun County,” he said, adding that the School Board should be willing to set aside money to help launch the school. “I want to see an investment in STEM here in Loudoun.”
    At least three speakers indicated they worked in the information security field and are desperate for young people with the skills to work in the industry.
    “This is where this charter school needs to be and we need more students coming out of this area to fill these jobs,” Tiffany Rad, who has children in Loudoun schools, said. She told the committee that her support for the Loudoun Math & IT Academy is not just about a gifted program or a charter school, but about an emphasis on information technology. “That does not exist in Loudoun County right now.”
    Karlo Arozqueta, who identified himself as a professional computer hacker for a federal agency that is constantly short of qualified employees, had similar comments: “I don’t know if this is the answer, but something needs to be done. Someone needs to come up with an answer, and very quickly.”
    The select committee will hold its next public hearing and meeting on the application at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, at the LCPS Administration Building, 21000 Education Ct., in Broadlands. It is scheduled to make a final recommendation to the full School Board Dec. 13.
    Americans fighting the Gulen Movement


    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Islamic Imam Fethullah Mohammed Gulen and his schools in America

    Gulen managed and operated schools in the USA, number over 130
    Many are now being denied their applications, expansions and renewals.
    Please visit:

    Gulen website speaks out about Hizmet participation in education

    F. Mohammed Gulen, the 5th Grade Educated Scholar (chuckle) in one of his posed photos appearing to read and look "educated"  none of which is true. 

    From one of Gulen’s own web sites
    The Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen has been living in the United States for 13 years now. An extensive network of supporters has developed there, serving in projects under his name.
    There is no sign on the road to indicate the exit and the dirt track which leads you through a foggy broadleaf forest, coloured in all the shades of autumn, to an estate with eight houses. Thirteen years ago, the most influential preacher of Turkish Islam Fethullah Gülen retreated to this secluded place. Back then, the still powerful military had driven him out of Turkey. Stricken with illnesses, he decided to undergo surgery in American hospitals. Since then, he has rarely left the estate despite being issued a visa and a residence permit by the United States.
    The voice of the 74-year-old Gülen sounds more powerful than ever, even from afar. It was his voice which has transformed the Muslims of Anatolia into a dynamic middle-class during the past decades. Gülen is the voice of these “black Turks”. Many movements have challenged Kemalism, the ideology of the “white Turks”. The urban, educated and secular upper-class of Istanbul – and later also of Ankara – have for decades ruled over Turkey. They looked down with contempt upon the uneducated, rural, poor and religious people of Anatolia. Inspired by Gülen’s teachings, many of these Turks sought education and became wealthy, yet remained religiously devout. As Gülen effectively challenged the Kemalist elite, he was declared as an enemy of the state. If Gülen was to return to Turkey, it would open old wounds. This is why Gülen, who shies away from conflicts, has decided to stay in Saylorsburg. ( he stays because he is under house arrest, he cannot leave- he is the official boogie man of Turkey that America controls) Are the Kurds of Anatolia (which represent over 70% of the population) thriving? 
    The 5-and-a-half hectare estate does partially resemble Gülen’s native region of Turkey. He was born in 1938 in Erzurum, in the remote eastern part of Anatolia. Saylorsburg is a place dominated by nature, where deer roam the forest and from time to time brown bears are seen. Soon, the snow will pile up, just as it will in Erzurum. When Turkish entrepreneurs bought the estate for $175,000 in 1993, under the name “Golden Generation foundation”, only a few log cabins were there. The foundation built eight stone houses, created the park, and invited Gülen to settle down here in 1999.
    Down at the lake, the visitors’ children are playing football. At noon, everyone gathers in the clearing at the köşk – a type of garden pavilion in which Ottomans used to dine while in the countryside. Traditional Turkish cuisine is on the menu: lentil soup, vegetables pickled in olive oil, köfte meat balls with rice, tea in small curved glasses. Gülen cannot walk even this distance these days. After several bypass operations, his knees trouble him now. He leaves the estate only for medical exams and treatment at the hospital nearby. Gülen takes a life away from people, but his message is reaching millions.
    A lift goes up to the first floor of the house which resembles a simply yet elegantly decorated Ottoman house which does not need more than a minimum of furniture. This is the floor on which Hocaefendi -- as he is reverently called by his followers -- lives and works. At his side always is his personal doctor, as well as a few other people in whom he trusts and confides. He very rarely gives interviews. This morning, a normal one, he taught a dozen young theologians who are his personal students. Twice a week, his sermons are recorded and uploaded onto the internet (, from which TV stations will rebroadcast. Gulencis operate hospitals in Turkey, he can get health care in Turkey but decides to STAY in the USA?  Not even returning for his brother’s funeral in October 2012.  Gulen doesn’t return to Turkey because he is now the bitch of the USA.
    Our interview has been scheduled to take place after the Islamic midday prayer. That is when Gülen receives guests. He specifically asks them about what is going on in the world outside and always has follow-up questions. After this he will read again, write and pray. He is said to get by on very little sleep. Every day is minutely structured. He instructs his followers to use their time well and practises as he preaches, without rushing. His followers say that he combines humility with charisma. On the wall behind him, a clock ticks softly. It is never switched to daylight savings hours. “The [real] time is always the same,” says Gülen.
    Beautiful calligraphic writing decorates the walls, complementing Gülen’s words. He does not speak a sober modern Turkish. The Ottomans would have understood him perfectly. It is a challenge for many Turkish people to understand him. In long sentences, he intertwines chapters from the Quran with sayings by the Prophet, the experiences of the mystics with the requirements of the modern world, and unites the world of faith with the reality of life. He explains the relevance of education and success in business, the compatibility of Islam with the modern age and democracy, as well as the incompatibility of Islam and violence. His followers are supposed to create employment and prosperity with their own hands, and should not forget to distribute it among those who are in need.  The official language of the Q’uran is Arabic.  Now you are saying he follows “Mohammed” before you state he follows the teachings of Said Nursi and Sufism.  Incidently Sufi is not recognized in many Islamic groups or countries.
    Religious people wanting to live their faith far away from the vibrant cities were always drawn to the State of Pennsylvania. The early immigrants that settled on the fertile grounds of Pennsylvania must have been religious people. If you set out west from Philadelphia towards Saylorsburg, then you will drive through Quakertown and Emmaus. Road signs indicate exits to Hamburg as well as Lebanon and also to New Tripoli. The road to Saylorsburg also leads you through Bethlehem and Nazareth.
    Manhattan is only a few hours drive away from Saylorsburg. And yet there are worlds between them.
    Alp Aslandogan is looking down from the sixth floor onto the urban canyon out of stone in the 5th Ave. In 1991, he came to New York from Turkey to do his PhD in IT and today he teaches at a university. In his spare time, he works many hours on a voluntary basis for “hizmet” [service] – which is how Gülen’s followers describe their movement. The movement, which in Germany is known as the Gülen movement, is also growing in the United States. Entrepeneurs close to Gülen have founded more than a thousand educational institutions in 130 countries, including Germany and the United States. Aslandogan founded the “Milky Way Foundation” in 1993 to help tutor children of Turkish immigrants on the weekends, so that they could succeed in school. In 1999, the foundation became a private school.  Alp Aslandogan is the mouthpiece of Gulen in the USA.  His buddy and fellow Gulenist Ardem Arici sits in Federal Prison. 
    “We neither wanted to emulate the dominant culture, nor isolate ourselves from it to preserve our roots,” says Aslandogan. “We wanted to help parents to understand the American culture, and the children to preserve their parents’ values, but also be productive citizens of this country.” Over two decades, activities such as these in New York turned into an extensive network of diverse social activities. The Turkish Cultural Center in Manhattan and the Peace Islands Institute are two examples.
    The cultural centre, for instance, organises English and Turkish language courses, prepares children for exams, helps adults to register themselves as voters and assists those who are self-employed to find success. After a large forest fire in Israel, it helped reforest the area, and built a new school in Haiti after the earthquake. After the terror attacks on September 11th, the Pacific Islands Institute was founded as a platform for dialogue. Under its framework, American politicians and foreign ambassadors have met, rabbis and Buddhist monks talk to each other, and Muslim families invite non-Muslim families home.
    The cultural centre and the Pacific Islands Institute are two of the 218 social organizations which are associated with Gülen in the United States, which have united in May 2010 under the umbrella organization, the Turkic American Alliance. Its main offices are in Washington DC, between Capitol Hill and the CNN studios. Just as in its New York offices, the personality cult around Atatürk has vanished, and there is no relief on the wall depicting the forever-smiling founder of the republic. What importance the umbrella organization has already gained can be seen by the fact that at a recent gala evening, seven senators and 53 members of the Congress were present. Fevzi Bilgin, a 38-year-old political analyst and former professor at the University of Pittsburgh, compiles studies about relevant issues in Turkey and the Middle East and assesses the American political sphere in his work. He is the head of “Rethink”, the only private Turkish think tank in the United States.
    Emre Çelik, an Australian IT specialist of Turkish descent living in the United States, is another strong supporter of Gülen. He started two decades ago in Sydney, trying to give Turkish youngsters a jump-start in subjects such as math, physics and chemistry in garages. Today, he is in charge of the Rumi Forum, named after a Turkish saint, which is located a stone’s throw away from the White House. On its board sit Jews as well as secular Americans. Prominent politicians or diplomats often speak at luncheons held at the forum, broadcasted by four TV channels.
    Çelik considers himself to be a “mainstream Muslim” and this is the type of Islam he wants to foster in the pluralistic society of America. Initially in Australia, he was fascinated by Said Nursi (1876-1960), a spiritual mentor for Gülen. Nursi introduced to Islam raising scientific questions and doubt, taught his students to see the good in Western civilisation and adopt it, and called them to overcome the three basic evils of poverty, division and ignorance. “What Nursi formulated in theories, is carried out by Gülen in practice”, says Çelik. He considers the concept of pleasing God to be the decisive contribution of Gülen. By this, Gülen motivates people to act in this world, in order to gain rewards for the hereafter.
    The movement is being attacked from two sides, says Gülen. Gülen describes those who equate the activities of “hizmet” with Islamism as ignorant. When it comes to other Turkish critics, he can only shake his head. They accuse him of being “a traitor to Islam, being a slave of the United States and Israel as well as carrying out propaganda for Christianity and Judaism”. A public prosecutor in Turkey once called him even a secret cardinal in the service of the Pope. The biggest accusation against the Movement is that it wants to carry out a revolution in Turkey, through cultivating a secret Islamist elite. It is also claimed that the movement is not transparent and works as a secret society. These kind of critics of the movement assert a hierarchical structure which does not exist. They attribute this claimed hierarchy to an asserted Islamic sufi lineage. During recent decades, periods where Turkey was ruled by generals, such a structure could be dangerous. “My life and my work are open to everyone”, asserts Gülen. “Nothing is kept secret.” The activities of “hizmet” are carried out in public with people from the entire spectrum of life, from all countries and religions. They have been observed and even under the control of public authorities. “I would like to know what is not transparent.”
    Education and building schools are issues particularly close to his heart. He says it is through education that a human being contributes in the most constructive manner to his or her family, society and humanity. "I am convinced that we as God’s creatures will only achieve our full individual maturity through worldly and spiritual education." He has been promoting this idea his entire life, as well as through the construction of schools, which are built by companies that claim to be inspired by him. His name appears neither as a founding nor board member on any of the institutions ascribed to him.
    The continuous reference to entrepreneurs does not mean that everything is related to money, but he advises his followers to be successful. A major Turkish business association is ascribed to Gülen. The economic boom in Anatolia is linked to his name. "I have always called for a sincere entrepreneurial spirit," says Gülen. He advises entrepreneurs to carefully assess risks, and encourages them to invest and expand abroad. “I always remind them of their social and societal responsibilities.” And he reminds them to adhere to ethical principles: to avoid involvement in fraud, speculative or black-market trading, stand for trust and reliability, not to display greed and squander God’s riches while enjoying them, to show respect for the rights of employees, not to forget that the society they live in should also benefit from their benefits and to live aware of the fact that ultimately everything is given by God.
    Tevfik Emre Aksoy is one of those businessmen who seeks God’s pleasure following Gülen’s advice. He made his fortune as a building contractor in Brooklyn, New York City. Self-employed and successful people like him donate a considerable share of their income to the "hizmet" movement and finance many projects. He is a board member of the Amity School in Brooklyn along with four other businessmen. Tuition fees only partially cover the costs of running the school. The rest comes from supporters like Aksoy.
    Yet despite his generous donations, he does not interfere in the day by day operations of the school, whose principal is Cengiz Karabekmez. Founded in 1999, 300 students attend the school. One hundred live in the adjacent student hostel. They come from 17 countries, and represent five different religious faiths. The majority are of Turkish descent. The school advertises that for many years all students have been accepted to college. The best go on to Harvard, Columbia and Yale. “Last year’s 25 graduates got scholarships in the amount of 4 million dollars”, Karabekmez says proudly.
    The focus, as with all other “Gülen schools”, is on teaching sciences. “We do not compel religion upon our students”, stresses Karabekmez. “We are not a religious school.“ The course on “personality development” teaches universal values such as respect, altruism and work ethics. Most of the 36 teachers are American citizens. “Language barriers?” Andrea laughs. "Sure, many parents speak only a little bit of English", says a teacher. “But the school community ensures that everyone speaks English very well, starting from year one.”  Today in Turkey, The Gulen controlled AKP party has implemented Islamic education widespread.  What is the long term goal in the USA and worldwide?  More share of power and control of local school districts.
    The English teacher, Adamir, knows Germany and the United States well, but he does not know Gülen. His parents fled the war in the Balkans, and along with their children, went first to Germany, and then settled down in New York 12 years ago. He had never heard the name of the “hizmet” movement. He opted for the Amity School because he has more opportunity to express himself as a teacher than at other schools. Worship of God is not compelled. “God loves everyone”, Aksoy asserts. “God loves in particular good deeds.”

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    New proposed Gulen Charter School in Virginia Loudoun Math and IT Academy, Parents and Americans fight back

    Now the games are reversing......America is fighting back and educating themselves about the Gulen Movement.  Parents, concerned citizens, and educators are fighting back and taking action into there own hands.  Loudoun County will have a battle on their hands.  Will the Gulenists win?
    They have quite a few politicians supporting them and the money to buy people in the short term.  But what will happen in the long term?  Their new schools are slowing down to a trickle, their h1-b Visas are almost non-existant, the money is drying up, Americans are educating each other about the TRUE agenda of the schools that STILL deny affiliation with the Gulen Movement even after proof without a doubt.
    Loudoun County School board member at last discussion which turned heated.  Americans stand up for your rights, your children, your tax money.  Make the Gulenists admitt they are part of the group and have an agenda for our children other than education.

    Concerns about Loudoun's proposed math and IT charter school's connections to a modern Islam movement came to a roar in recent days as the applicants behind the school hosted their first community outreach meeting.
    Their opposition stems from reports in several news columns, including The Washington Post's “The Answer Sheet,” which have alleged that the Chesapeake Science Point, the Anne Arundel County, MD, school that the Loudoun Math and IT Academy charter application has been modeled after, has ties to Turkish clerk and modern Islam leader Fethullah Gulen. The reports have raised up a group of Loudoun residents who have offered warnings about similar ties to the Loudoun charter school applicants at every School Board meeting since August, and their comments dominated a two-hour community outreach meeting on the school last Thursday.
    Access Point Public Affairs’ Mindy Williams, who serves as the spokeswoman for the charter school applicants, started her talk just as she has every other presentation about the school for more than a year: “This charter came about because of a group of Loudoun County parents, many like you in the room, after they looked at what they wanted for their children…These parents, while they were raising their children and doing their day job, took it upon themselves to look at other charter schools as a model to start one here in Loudoun.”
    After highlighting the vision of a sixth- through 12th-grade academy that would offer an alternative for Loudoun’s students, Williams, standing with School Board Vice Chairman Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) and Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Janet Clarke, was hammered with questions
    “Will you present the public with all of the information you’ve received about this school’s connections?” Jo-Ann Chase, Loudoun resident and former candidate for the House of Delegates, asked.
    Her question was followed by several from about a dozen others peppered throughout the small audience in the Creighton’s Corner Elementary School gym, challenging every aspect of the proposed charter school. They asked whether the initial proposal work is being funded by Gulen, why they are considering offering students Turkish as one of the language courses and will the school hire teachers from within Loudoun County, referring to concerns that Chesapeake Science Point’s teachers are brought in from Turkey.
    At one point Ali Gokce, one of the parents behind the charter application, stood to say he’s a mechanical engineer who’s lived in Loudoun since 2005, and he simply wants a more rigorous education for his two children. “We started with a small group of parents and it grew from there. I think all these rumors are stereotyping, basically.”
    Williams told the group she only first heard of the Gulen charter school movement when she received an email about it a couple of months ago from Chase. “We’re not getting any money from any outside source,” Williams insisted, adding that she has done much of the public relations work pro bono. “I’m just a mom, and I believe in school choice and I believe in these people.”
    As the questions turned into allegations, Clarke asked the group, “Do you believe there are charter schools in the United States that are not connected to the Gulen movement?”
    “Yes,” most in the room answered in unison.
    “I do think it’s very important that we’re absolutely sure there is no connection,” Clarke continued, “but in all fairness, we can’t draw that connection when we don’t know quite yet.”
    Turgeon assured the group that the School Board would not only vet the charter application thoroughly, but continue to oversee the operation of the school if it is approved. The application is under review by Loudoun County Public Schools’ senior staff members, who will present their comments to the School Board Oct. 23. The application will then be reviewed by a committee, which is chaired by Jeff Morse (Dulles), and includes Turgeon and Brenda Sheridan (Sterling).
    “I hope you have the confidence in us that we’ll look at every aspect of this application,” she said, adding that while it is too early in the process to know whether she will support the Loudoun Math and IT Academy, she and most of the other nine School Board members have expressed their support for charter schools and other public school options within Loudoun. “Loudoun County does have an excellent education system with excellent teachers…but I am adamantly against a one-size-fits-all school system.”
    The same individuals attending last Thursday’s community outreach meeting also listed their concerns at the Sept. 25 School Board meeting. Rachel Sargent pointed out that Ali Bicak is one of the founding members of Chesapeake Science Point and that Fatih Kandil, listed as an applicant for the Loudoun charter school, is a former principal of Chesapeake Science Point and was the director of the Horizon Science Academy in Ohio, which has also been accused of ties with Gulen.
    “There’s a trend here I’m hoping you see,” Sargent said.
    The charter application doesn’t hide the fact that both Bicak and Kandil’s have experience at the Maryland charter school, and lists Kandil as a South Riding resident with two children in Loudoun’s public schools.
    School Board member Bill Fox (Leesburg) responded to Sargent’s and the others’ comments from the dais Sept. 25 saying that while he would look into concerns from those opposed to the Loudoun Math and IT Academy, he would not give weight to comments such as the fact that several of the applicants are Turkish.
    “I don’t think we should be in the business of discriminating against an organization based on racial makeup, or saying that if there’s a strong Turkish influence that there will be some unconstitutional influence of religion anymore than saying because our curriculum committee has two people who graduated from BYU [Brigham Young University] there is any religious influence over our curriculum,” he said.
    Williams said she doesn’t believe the small group opposing the charter school in Loudoun accurately represents the community’s interest. “We have received a lot of feedback from people who are excited about the possibility of a math and IT charter school.”
    Loudoun Math and IT Academy's next community meeting is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dulles South Multipurpose Center, 24950 Riding Center Drive, in South Riding.

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    Gulen Charter School- Pioneer Academy of Science Wins High Honors

    Called the "Turkish College" of Clifton, NJ.   Nice honors only they are won at the Gulen sponsored events.   Gotta love all those Gulen non-profit organizations that sponsor Science Olympiads, Turkish Olympiads, I-Sweep, CONSEF and much more.

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Gulen "inspired" Charter School Minnesota School of Science cuts loose 40 special needs students

    July 24, 2012
    Last week, the families of 40 Minneapolis students with significant special needs received an unwelcome phone call. The promise that their children would be able to return to their North Minneapolis classrooms when school starts in just over a month would be broken. The children, who have disabilities such as autism and Downs syndrome that make transitions particularly difficult, will not be welcomed back to the one-year-old charter Minnesota School of Science, which took over the district's Cityview Elementary School in August 2011. 
    In 2010, when No Child Left Behind mandated that the Minneapolis school district take drastic action to improve Cityview's test scores, the district school board voted to usher Cityview out and turn over the space to the charter Minnesota School of Science the following year.
    The plan called for special education classrooms to stay in the building. Their occupants would remain Minneapolis Public School students in name. A one-year contract obligated MSS to provide opportunities for the high-needs students to mingle with mainstream peers.
    By this spring, the district was aware of a number of issues with the relationship between the two schools and the service provided by MSS. The district assured parent advocates that a refined agreement was coming. But on July 9, the charter’s board gave notice that they would no longer provide mainstreaming services to MPS.
    Last week, the district began working its way through a long list of phone numbers, informing parents that their mostly North Minneapolis students would have to cross the river this fall to attend Pillsbury or Sheridan elementary schools in Northeast.  
    The situation calls into question the charter school’s commitment and ability to work with all types of students, as well as the level of forethought the district put into its plans to work with Minnesota School of Science. A No Child Left Behind-inspired experiment may have left vulnerable North Minneapolis special education students behind.
    A first of its kind district-charter relationship
    Just two months ago, the building occupied by Minnesota School of Science and Cityview Middle School housed four federal setting 3 elementary-level special education classrooms. The federal label means that the students’ needs are so significant that at least 60 percent of their day is spent separated from mainstream peers. Two of the classrooms served students with autism; two served students with developmental cognitive disorders like Downs syndrome.
    Until last year, the children’s classrooms were part of Cityview elementary school. Under No Child Left Behind, students’ consistently low test scores gave the district three options: shut the school down, fire and rehire the entire staff, or provide an alternative option for the students to receive high-quality education.
    Meanwhile, MPS was developing a new strategy for dealing with its underperforming schools and auspicious achievement gap: it opened an Office of New Schools that would build a portfolio of innovative partner schools. The office supported the development of the site-governed Pierre Bottineau French Immersion school, set to open this fall. It also began authorizing charter schools including Minnesota School of Science.
    The Minneapolis school board voted to authorize MSS in July 2010. In November of that year, the board held a public hearing to discuss a recommendation that Cityview close. A number of parents objected to the closing, including parents of special education students.
    On December 7, 2010, in a 4 to 3 vote, Minneapolis’s board decided to close Cityview Elementary at the end of the school year and phase out Cityview Middle School within three years. Minnesota School of Science, part of a chain of successful charters managed by the national not-for-profit Concept Schools, would move into the space. Cityview became the sixth district school to close in North Minneapolis in three years. At that point, it was unclear what would happen to the seven autism and developmental cognitive disorders classrooms in the building.
    It wasn’t until March 2011 that an agreement was signed with MSS that MPS students would stay in the building and be mainstreamed in the charter’s classrooms. The arrangement was the first of its kind in the country. The decision meant the district could avoid disrupting the education of high needs students and avoid finding space in already crowded schools for more classrooms.
    MSS school board members say they were reluctant to agree to mainstream the students. “We almost chose not to come to this building because of it,” said board member Gene Scapanski. The charter’s goal is for 90 percent of its academically struggling, mostly low-income and non-white students to earn proficient scores on state tests within three years. “To bring children to that level of growth and then to have in addition that other challenge, it seemed like more than we could handle. We didn’t know if we could be successful.”
    “We very reluctantly said we would take it, but we’d take it for one year,” Scapanski said.
    The district would come to regret agreeing to such a short commitment.
    Signs of trouble
    In spring, the district’s special education advisory committee co-chair, Kelley Leaf heard rumors that some parents were unhappy with the services their students were receiving at MSS. The committee is made up mostly of parents of students with disabilities who attend schools in the district. Leaf said special education director Ann Casey assured members that a new agreement was in the works.
    But two months later, the charter informed the district that they would not re-sign a contract to mainstream MPS students in the fall.
    According to MSS board members, the decision was a long time coming. Scapanski and fellow board member Ozer Asdemir said they heard repeated concerns from the school’s former director Hasan Kose that teachers were struggling to provide intense college preparatory instruction to MSS general education students while simultaneously attending to the needs of MPS special education students.
    The board members said the school incurred unexpected expenses because of the arrangement. The district reimbursed the charter $42,000 for hours MSS teachers worked with MPS students and $38,000 to fund a special education liaison between the district and the charter. The charter was not compensated for two additional classroom teachers they hired, costing $77,000. Charter board members said they hired the teachers to reduce the number of students in two classes, which had grown to over 30 students with the addition of MPS special ed kids.
    At meetings in May and June the district agreed to address some of those complaints. Among other things, the district agreed to hire additional classroom assistants for MSS classes placed with more than three special education students.
    In exchange, the district asked that MSS allow MPS students to wear the charter’s uniform. They also requested that the school hire a single special education liaison. Last year, although the district paid $38,000 for liaison services, the charter divided responsibilities among multiple individuals.
    District officials said they were not aware of any complaints from teachers or parents.
    Communication breakdown
    MPS presented MSS with three options: mainstream the students for two more years while working towards a long-term agreement, mainstream students for one more year before students relocate, or cut off mainstreaming before the school year starts. The charter had until July 6 to make up their mind.
    District officials said that since the MSS school board appeared interested in continuing the arrangement, MPS did not make any plans to move families in the coming year. Associate Superintendent Mark Bonine said that it is unlikely that parents knew the arrangement had potential to expire over the summer.
    But expire it did.
    “This was not part of our mission. We reluctantly feel that we have to end it,” Scapanski told the Daily Planet. “To do otherwise would make it extremely difficult for faculty to achieve the goals that they’ve set for themselves.”
    As a public school, MSS is required to serve any students that want to attend, and the school does enroll a number of students with disabilities. But board members argue that the students in question are MPS students, not MSS students. As such, MSS is not obligated to provide services beyond what the contract demanded.
    The agreement was separate from the charter authorizer agreement, which expires in 2014, and separate from the building lease agreement, which expired June 30, 2012, and was already renewed.
    “We understand that we need more than one year to implement a program. A one year agreement does not meet that need,” Office of New Schools director Sara Paul said. “The biggest lesson learned is that the one year agreement did not serve our interest for a sustainable program.”
    “If we weren’t surprised by this we would’ve moved much quicker to make the change to find a place for these students,” said associate superintendant Mark Bonine.
    MSS board members said it was not a surprise to them. “I think with our original concerns that we had in taking on the additional students, it wasn’t a huge surprise in the end when our teachers said to us, this demands many more resources than what we feel like we have,” Scapanski said.
    Moving across the river
    Federal law requires that K-12 special education students have opportunities to interact with mainstream peers. The district considered staying in the MSS building and busing students to another school for parts of the day, but since every student’s Individual Education Plan requires a different level of mainstreaming, transportation would have been too complex. Plus, special education teachers would lose opportunities to collaborate with mainstream teachers.
    Instead, one autism classroom will move to Pillsbury, and the other autism classroom and two developmental cognitive disorders classrooms will move to Sheridan. The sixth graders in the developmental cognitive disorders program will move to Northeast middle school. More than 12 teachers, specialists and education assistants will move with them.
    Two middle school special education classrooms will stay at Cityview, but that will change as the district phases out the site’s middle school program. The district has not determined where those classrooms will relocate.
    “They walked away.”
    According to MPS board member Carla Bates, besides being hugely disruptive to families, the unexpected transition disrupts the district’s efforts to derail a long trend of instability in special education programs.
    Although Bates voted against closing Cityview because of her concerns about the special education students in the building, she voted in favor of the one-year contract with MSS. “I take personal responsibility for the fact that the contract was only a year long versus the lease on the building or the performance contract,” she said.
    “You can’t get achievement for some at the expense of others,” Bates said. “It’s just not how we can do it in public schools. It’s not it.”
    As to whether or not this will affect MPS’s decision to renew an authorizing agreement with MSS in 2014, Bates said, “They walked away. They walked away from our students. Of course I’ll remember.”

    Harmony Parent the TRUTH: Harmony Science Academy audit finds misspent funds...

    Harmony Parent the TRUTH: Harmony Science Academy audit finds misspent funds...: Gulen "Inspired" charter schools and their layers of Gulen NGOs like: Raindrop Turkish House, Grace Institute, Istanbul Center, Turqui...

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    Gulenist operated Sweetwater Branch Academy in Florida receives F GRADE to close?

    Sweetwater Elementary could close after two consecutive F's
    By Joey Flechas
    Staff writer
    Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.
    Charter school Sweetwater Branch Academy Elementary could be forced to close its doors after receiving an F grade for the second year in a row.
    Under a new state law that went into effect July 1, a charter school that receives two consecutive F grades must be closed unless it qualifies for a few exceptions, like if a charter school was created to turn around the performance of a district public school.
    Sweetwater Branch Academy Elementary, located at 1000 NE 16th Ave., does not qualify for this, so in order to avoid closure, Principal Ugur Baslanti said he is considering requesting a waiver from the state based on his students' learning gains, or improvements in test scores from the previous year.
    According to a process approved last week by the State Board of Education, the board can waive termination for a charter school if the school shows "that the learning gains of its students on statewide assessments are comparable to or better than the learning gains of similarly situated students enrolled in nearby schools."
    Last year the school received 288 points for learning gains. This year, that number jumped to 379 — a 91-point increase that makes it the second highest in the district.
    "The increase shows that everything worked," Baslanti said. "It was just not enough, unfortunately."
    Baslanti noted that the school missed the cutoff score for a D by 16 points. He also plans to appeal for a grade miscalculation, which, if the school gets bumped to a D, would eliminate the need for a waiver.
    Talk of the charter school's performance has Superintendent Dan Boyd concerned. He said the School Board is worried about the quality of charter schools.
    "I think the state needs to review their infatuation with charter schools," Boyd said.
    According to Adam Miller, director of charter schools for the state Department of Education, the charter school system is designed to be a little different from the traditional public school system.
    "The charter school system or structure is set up on an agreement for increased flexibility for increased accountability," he said.
    The increased accountability could send the 200 elementary students at Sweetwater Branch to their zoned schools, which include Metcalfe, Duval and Rawlings elementaries.
    Diana Lagotic, district director for elementary education, wrote in an email Wednesday that those schools would not have problems with the influx of students, as the majority of students would be going to schools that have the space.
    If Sweetwater Branch were to close, Boyd suspected the process of shutting it down would take a year.