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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Syracuse Academy of Science gets approval from NY regents despite prayer room and academic failures

The Prayer Room at Syracuse Academy of Science from Mary Addi on Vimeo.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The head of Syracuse Academy of Science charter school made an impassioned plea Wednesday for the public to judge the school on its merits, not the ethnicity of some of its leaders. "My heritage you can see with my skin color, but that doesn't matter," said SAS superintendent Tolga Hayali, who is Turkish-American. "In the end, are we helping every child to be successful, to be productive, good, caring citizens? It's not about my religion. It's not about my ethnicity. It's about the children. I love to be judged based on the product, not on my ethnicity." Hayali's comments came near the end of a lively hearing on whether the charter network should expand to include another kindergarten through 12th grade school in Syracuse. The New York Board of Regents will decided whether to grant SAS another charter. Syracuse Academy of Science currently operates an elementary, middle and high school here, as well as a middle-high school in Utica. In Syracuse, the schools have waiting lists that have at times exceeded 400 students, officials said. The new school would be similar to the others, which focus on college preparedness and science, technology, engineering and math. The big difference is the proposed school would include requirements for community service, and give enrollment preference to English learners who apply to the school's lottery. Dozens of people spoke about the charter school. More than 20 people spoke in favor of the expansion. Eight or nine people spoke against expanding the school, arguing that charter schools divert money away from traditional public schools and lack oversight. A few people mentioned Syracuse Academy of Science's supposed ties to Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen movement, which promotes "tolerant Islam which emphasies altruism, modesty, hard work and education," according to a report by the BBC. Educators inspired by or affiliated with Gülen have opened more than 120 schools across the United States since the early 2000s. Gülen, who lives reclusively in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, has also been blamed by the Turkish government for the attempted coup there this summer. Speakers at the hearing Wednesday brought up the alleged connection to Gülen, and the fact that most members of the school's board of trustees are of Turkish descent. That's what frustrated Hayali, he said. "One thing bothers me: Yes, I am Turkish-American, but I will tell you one thing: My son will be American-Turkish and my grandson will be American," Hayali said. "When people come with ... not facts, that kind of hurts me. Many of my board members are either American citizens or on the way with a green card, so what does it matter? They are dedicating their valuable time with our children. They don't get paid for this." Hayali's pointed remarks about ethnicity culminated an evening that otherwise echoed the debate happening around the country about charter schools. Syracuse charter school head: Judge us on merits, not ethnicity
Tolga Hayali, superintendent of Syracuse Academy of Science charter school

 SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse will get its third charter school, after the New York State Board of Regents Tuesday authorized the Syracuse Academy of Science to open its second school in the city. The new school, which will be called the Syracuse Academy of Science and Citizenship, will start educating students in the 2017-18 school year. The school was approved despite a contentious hearing in Syracuse last month. SAS superintendent Tolga Hayali made an impassioned plea for the community to judge the school on its merits, not on its leaders' Turkish ethnicity or alleged ties to Fethullah Gülen and the peaceful Islamic Gülen movement. Dozens of parents and teachers spoke in favor of expanding the school, citing a waiting list for students who want to attend, frequent field trips and academic successes. Critics of the school spoke out at the hearing to tell personal stories of disappointment or frustration with how the school was operated. Critics of charter schools in general, including members of the local teachers union and Syracuse City School District Education Commissioner Katie Sojewicz, said they didn't believe Syracuse needed another charter school to siphon funds and resources from public schools. Charter schools in New York receive funding on a per student basis from the districts they operate within. They are not subject to the same oversight as public schools, though Hayali argued that they still have to answer to auditors and the state's comptroller. The expansion to a second school was approved by the 17-member Board of Regents, made up of appointees from across the state, as well as the Regents committee working on pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade education. Officials from the State Department of Education recommended the approval based on evaluation of SAS's plan. "Granting the proposed charter is likely to improve student learning and achievement," officials wrote in a report on the proposed school. The new school will belong to the existing Academy of Science network, which operates a high school, middle school and elementary school out of a building on Park Avenue in Syracuse, as well as the Utica Academy of Science for sixth through twelfth graders. Officials from SAS have not yet said where the new school would be opened. It will open with 171 slots for students in kindergarten through second grade. Officials said they plan to eventually expand the school to 975 slots for students in kindergarten through twelfth grades. The school will focus on educating students who are learning English as a new language and will include requirements for citizenship, including volunteer hours. OnTECH Charter High School was also up for approval during this round of authorizations. The proposed school would focus on agricultural studies and would specifically target the refugee population in Syracuse. OnTECH's application is still under consideration. OnTECH is working with State Education Department officials on a number of small, technical modifications. Its application is expected to move forward in December, according to the department. Reporter Julie McMahon covers Syracuse University and Syracuse city schools. She can be reached anytime: Email | Twitter | 315-412-1992

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