Sunday, February 9, 2014
A Muslim cleric who lives in seclusion in Pennsylvania and has been linked to a network of more than 135 public charter schools in the United States is believed to be deeply involved in the political drama that is unfolding in his home country of Turkey.
The reclusive cleric is Fethullah Gulen, who has been linked to charter schools in some 25 states and to other schools in dozens of countries around the world. Gulen, who has denounced terrorism and is said to believe in a moderate form of Islam, has lived in Pennsylvania for years. Gulen was until recently a close ally of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose government has been deeply shaken by a corruption investigation. The prime minister just replaced three of his key ministers after they were forced to resign in the scandal.
According to the Associated Press:
The Coral Academy is networked through Accord Institute for Education Research, whose COO, Erdinc Acar, is the proposed Education Director for Carol Science Academy.
I read the proposal for this charter school and wondered how, with its STEM based curriculum and “high standards”, students with special ed needs could fit within this program. Nothing was mentioned.
The other concern is the ties that the Coral Academy of Science has with the Gulen Movement and what that means.
From The Gulen Movement: “a non-transparent organizational model”
The leading US authority on the Gulen Movement (GM) at this time is Joshua Hendrick, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Loyola University Maryland. His new book “Gulen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World” was published in August 2013 by New York University Press. Fifteen pages are devoted to the Gulen charter school situation and are worth your investment in the book. From page 230:
SEATTLE — The Washington State Charter Schools Association approved 7 new charter schools however the Gulen operated Coral Science Academy was not one of them. Please read here:
It didn’t take long — only one week — for three of the eight applicants for new charter schools to be told they did not make the grade. “We’re becoming more rigorous,” said Jennifer Nagourney, head of the Charter School Office in the state Department of Education. “That’s one of the hallmarks of a high-quality authorizer.” On Jan.9, she notified organizers of the proposed Delaware Math & IT Academy, STEAM Charter Academy and Education Plus Academy Charter School that their applications were incomplete and failed to satisfy basic requirements. Many of the deficiencies cited were related to information about the schools’ leadership and staffing plans. -