Sunday, February 26, 2017
“Any attempt by the Turkish government to create connections through loose inferences needlessly discredits our schools’ efforts to bring high-quality educational opportunities to families,” said Dominic Slowey, spokesman for the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.
“Strong oversight is fair and welcome but campaigns based on innuendo and xenophobia are not,” he added.
Slowey said claims that the Hampden Charter School of Science is associated with the religious movement led by exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who moved to Pennsylvania after fleeing Turkey in the late 1990s, are unfounded. But an expert on the Gulen movement said schools associated with it have come under fire and state officials should tread carefully.
“They should really look into this,” said David North, a fellow with the conservative think tank Center for Immigration Studies. “Don’t sully your copybook by rushing ahead and accepting this proposal when a whole lot of questions aren’t answered.”
The Chicopee-based Hampden Charter School of Science is looking to “replicate” and create a new grades 6-12 school with 588 students and a STEM focus in Westfield. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is set to vote on whether to approve the school’s application on Monday.
Attorney Robert Amsterdam, whose law firm has been hired by the Turkish government to investigate schools reportedly tied to Gulen, is urging state education officials to deny the application. He said he sent the state a packet outlining Gulen’s network of 120 charter schools, alleging the Chicopee organization is one of them.http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/02/charter_school_pushing_back_against_turkish_government
OPEN LETTER TO MASSACHUSETTS PARENTS
On February 27, the 12-member Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be voting on whether or not to allow the Chicopee-based Hampden Charter School of Science to open a sister school in Westfield. In the application tabled by HCCS West, the new facility would aim to be a regional grade 6-12 school drawing from 588 students from Agawam, Holyoke, Westfield, and West Springfield school districts.
Parents and concerned taxpayers should urgently press the Board to reject this request. This school has known ties to the Turkish-run Pioneer Charter Schools of Science in Everett and Saugas, which are part of a nationwide network of some 170 schools operated by followers of Fethullah Gülen.
For the past year, on behalf of the Government of Turkey, my law firm has been investigating the Gülen organization schools, which are believed to be connected to last July’s bloody coup attempt in Turkey. The findings have been astounding.
In Massachusetts alone, there are numerous red flags. According to an earlier investigation by the Boston Globe, the Pioneer charter schools have spent more than $84,215 in public funds to bring 16 teachers into the country on H1-B visas – but some years later only four remained at the school.
There are also signs of systemic financial misappropriation. The Globe investigation found that Pioneer had paid out $128,600 in consulting fees to Turkish-owned Apple Education Services, and another $218,646 to five front companies registered at the same address – and that was four years ago.
And of course Pioneer isn’t operating independently, as their management has repeatedly claimed. Their application to open a second campus directly lifted text, word for word, from past applications used by Harmony Public Schools in Texas, another prominent Gülen chain.
Across the nation, there is a clear pattern of abuse in these schools. In California, Magnolia Public Schools spent almost $1 million on lawyers and fees to bring in 138 teachers, overwhelmingly from Turkey. In Texas, where they operate 46 charter schools, Harmony Public Schools inked a $102 million deal with a brand new company headed by the school’s former budget director – while employees go through a revolving door between the schools and selected vendors. In Ohio, Gulen’s Concept Schools have siphoned away $19 million of taxpayer dollars through “closed-loop leasing,” by buying buildings and renting them back to themselves at exorbitant rates. The list goes on and on.
Before stakeholders and public officials push toward further expansion of charter schools in New Jersey, they should take a breath, and pause long enough to look at the rise in prominence and influence of a group of charter schools that has grown in the past decade or so out of North Jersey’s Turkish community. The saga of that growth, detailed in an investigation conducted by The Record, raises some troubling questions about the use of taxpayer money, and cries out for greater oversight from the state.
As Staff Writers Jean Rimbach, Jeff Pillets and Hannan Adely report, this still-growing collection of schools – whose founders and leaders include people with close ties to the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a controversial Islamic cleric from Turkey now living in the Poconos – has been successful at wooing state and local government officials, while also engaging in troubling financial practices. The Record’s reporting reveals that the charter schools, though often successful academically, have also at times been a channel for state taxpayer money to private entities that serve the schools as landlords or vendors – in one case a Wayne boarding school that is openly Gulen inspired.
Meantime, officials in Turkey, where there has been much political upheaval lately, maintain that Gulen is leveraging a network of more than 100 charter schools across the United States, and using American tax dollars to support revolution back home and to put his followers in power. Robert Amsterdam, a London-based lawyer hired by the Turkish government to investigate the charter school links to Gulen in the United States, said that “it’s clear these schools were being used to raise funds for Gulen and employ Gulen followers and teachers and basically have them tie a percent of their income back to Gulen.”
Seven schools in the North Jersey group collected more than $60 million in taxpayer money last year alone to fund their growth. They include charter schools from Paterson to Hackensack to Somerset County. Many of the schools tout their success in teaching science and math, particularly in urban school districts, yet their financial practices and range of political involvement across the state are a huge concern at a time when Governor Christie and other politicians seek to give charters a greater footprint in the state’s educational landscape.
Indeed, among the more disturbing episodes reported about the charter schools connected to the Turkish community concerns the nexus between the Paterson Charter School for Science and Pioneer Academy, a private boarding school that recently opened a pricey new campus in Wayne. The Record found that a state-financed property deal involving the Paterson school also benefited its landlord, a private group with close ties to the Gulen movement.
As for Gulen, the 75-year-old teacher and cleric has espoused a modern Islamic society that embraces education, interfaith dialogue and tolerance. Yet Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, has accused Gulen of working to overthrow the government and has purged thousands of Gulenists from positions of authority. Erdogan also has called for Gulen’s return to Turkey to stand trial. The United States does not classify Gulen or his followers as a terrorist group.
What is most concerning from a New Jersey perspective is the apparent ease with which non-profits, charter school leaders and private entities have been able to leverage state tax dollars, in often complicated ways, without the sort of robust transparency regarding public records, finances and payroll that is normal for those who benefit from public monies.
Charter schools, in general, often receive private sponsorship and, in return, are granted some degree of independence, but they also receive state tax dollars that otherwise go to traditional public schools. The Record’s investigation into the Turkish-led schools in New Jersey shows that more oversight of the system is needed before the state proceeds further in the charter movement.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
A group of charter schools, which arose from North Jersey’s Turkish community and has established a large and growing footprint in the state, has had both success and struggles.
The schools, with a strong focus on math, science and technology, have been praised by officials and parents as places of innovation and have earned a strong reputation with long wait lists to enroll in the schools via their annual lotteries. But while some of the schools are diverse, two have been accused in a federal civil rights complaint of enrollment practices that keep out disadvantaged students.
Charter schools operate independently of regular public school districts, but are funded by tax dollars.
Gov. Chris Christie visited three of the schools last year, including the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack, where he praised the school’s use of technology in the classroom.
"I'm here today because I want people to know about the extraordinary work and accomplishments being done here every day by you and your teachers," Christie told students and faculty during his visit in May.
The governor also visited the Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School in Somerset in May, where he touted the strong academic performance but failed to acknowledge criticism over the school’s enrollment practices. Education officials ordered the school one year ago to develop a plan to improve diversity when he approved a renewal of the school’s charter agreement.
Both the Thomas Edison school and Central Jersey College Prep Charter School, also in Somerset, a section of Franklin Township, are the subject of a federal complaint filed this month. The complaint alleges that they discriminate in their enrollment, and that they educate fewer students who are low-income, who have disabilities and who are learning English.
The Latino Coalition of New Jersey and Franklin C.A.R.E.S., a parent advocacy group, are calling for a federal and state investigation.
Both schools have denied allegations of discrimination and said the complaint was part of an effort “to harass” and “to shut down” public charter schools.
State test data show schools in Bergen and Somerset counties have performed better than statewide averages, as did middle school students at a charter in Passaic city. Schools in Paterson fell below – but they outperformed their home district.
One of the schools, the Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology, landed on probation for nearly a year in 2006 and 2007. Its continuing “weak academic performance” was cited by a Standard & Poor’s credit analyst in lowering the overall outlook on debt associated with the school’s facilities.
The school, which opened in 2003, had previously been investigated by the state and cited for staffing and financial issues, including hiring teachers without proper certification, possible no-show employees, tenure violations and improper payments of immigration fees.
The ratings agency downgraded the school's bonds in October 2014, citing both financial and academic issues, falling "far below" academic standards in some areas.
A second action by the agency, in February 2016, revised the outlook on the bonds from "stable" to "negative.'' A report at the time cited "weakened" cash levels that violated the terms of the school's bond agreement with the state and required the hiring of an outside financial consultant.
A school official, responding to questions from The Record, blamed a drop in state aid and one-time expenses associated with opening a new school for the financial weaknesses. The official, Riza Gurcanli, said that the school continues to operate on a "tight budget," and that the overall fund balance for the 2015-16 school year was positive.
Critics claim the schools are part of a nationwide network of at least 100 charter schools that are tied to the Gulen movement.
In some states, so-called Gulen schools have been investigated for improper bidding practices that steer contracts to Turkish-owned companies, misuse of a visa program to bring teachers from Turkey, and improper use of a federal grant program. Charters in Ohio and Louisiana were raided by the FBI.
The growing New Jersey network, however, has received kudos from many parents and politicians.
Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, who has visited two of the charter schools at their invitation, said they provide an alternative for families who may seek a small-school environment in a diverse setting.
“It gives kids a chance in a school with different cultures and languages. They learn and respect each other’s customs,” he said.
“If the students coming out of these schools are prepared to go on to the next state in their education, then that is a good service,” he added.
Joshua Hendrick, the assistant professor of sociology at Loyola University Maryland who wrote a book about the Gulen movement, said some of the schools have been under investigation over their operations and finances. But many of the schools, he said, are thriving.
“For every one under investigation, there are 10 or 20 more that couldn't be more successful,” he said.
Charter schools are not shining examples of education in USA especially Gulen operated charter schools AMERICAN THINKER
Now that Betsy DeVos has been selected as secretary of education, it is important to consider the issue of charter schools in a reasoned and logical fashion.
Parents should have the ability to choose the school they deem best for their children. But how will this actually occur? Will students from an inner-city school opt to go to a wealthier school district, where scores are higher and education more intense? Will they be bused if they live too far? Who will be paying the taxes for the additional teaching staff and materials to accommodate the students?
There are mixed reviews about the success of charter schools. They hinge on the dichotomy between charter schools and district schools. David P. Magnani, who was the Senate chair of the Education Committee in Massachusetts, reminds readers that "most have forgotten that charter schools were created to serve as 'laboratories of change,' disseminating new ideas, not as competitors to existing district schools. To date, very little, if any, of this 'dissemination' agenda has been achieved, largely because neither charter nor district schools have any mandate and few resources, incentives or the regulatory environment for such dissemination." In fact, Magnani maintains that "charter schools have increased inequality overall, contrary to initial intent." He cites a 2009 UCLA study that confirms this finding. Moreover, in "suburban districts, charter schools hurt district schools in another way: by leaving children with the most severe physical or intellectual disabilities as district responsibilities."
For those who would argue about the economics of charter schools, Magnani maintains that "in spite of temporary reimbursements from the commonwealth, over time, the district actually loses money for each student it sends to a charter school. This is because the average cost-per-student leaves the district and 'follows the child,' but the marginal district 'savings' are less than the amount the district is required to send to the charter school."
But let us set aside the economic concerns for a moment. How have charter schools fared concerning the educational attainment of their students?
First and foremost, it is critical to understand the vital connection between parental interest and school achievement. Parental engagement has always produced more engaged students because the child has a back-up system that promotes student academic success. Moreover, as E.D. Hirsch has noted, "a systemic failure to teach all children the knowledge they need in order to understand what the next grade has to offer is the major source of avoidable injustice in our schools. ... It is impossible for a teacher to reach all children when some of them lack the necessary building blocks of learning."
In her 2016 piece, Kate Zernike of the New York Times writes that "Detroit now has a bigger share of students in charters than any American city except New Orleans, which turned almost all its schools into charters after Hurricane Katrina. But half the charters perform only as well, or worse than, Detroit's traditional public schools."
John Oliver at Business Insider asserts that "[s]ome charters are "so flawed, ... that they don't make it through the year. The most flawed are in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Charters have also had problems with misuse of funds, as they are supposed to be nonprofit but certain groups aim to make a profit, and there's been lackadaisical attendance monitoring for online charters."
For those charter schools that have been high-performing, Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post explains that in Pennsylvania, "high performing charters school had certain common characteristics" that include "innovative education programs with most of them focused on a specific approach to education instruction or a specific academic area of instructional focus." They tend to offer longer and more school days as well as more individualized education programs. They also tend to be smaller and have fewer special education students than traditional students.
But then Strauss goes on to explore a dozen problems associated with charter schools, including "little more than reading and math test prep, inexperienced teachers with high turnover, and 'blended learning' products designed to enrich charter school board members' investment portfolios." Moreover, there is a "lack of transparency and accountability" and an "increasing segregation based on race, ethnicity, and income."
Public schools used to be able to produce high-quality education for all strata of people because the books and tools were comprehensive and not politically driven – not the politically correct drivel that has been steamrolled into education. For example, in the past, writers from all over the world were part of a solid curriculum without there being an overriding and often anti-Western approach to the study of great literature. As Sol Stern has written, a "half-century of discredited instructional practices in the classroom" has hurt generations of Americans in the public school system. Stern writes that while "charters seem to have produced significant gains for students in some school districts including New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and New York," a "study of charter school effects nationally found that only 17 percent of all charters had higher academic gains than similar public schools, while 37 percent had worse performance. Forty-six percent of charters performed no better or worse than public schools in the same district," and the "grade for voucher programs is also an Incomplete."
Actually, the school system has "been transformed into a knowledge-free zone," which is, sadly, producing the "dumbest generation" ever. It is evident in every two- and four-year school of higher education where I teach. Instructors of every discipline relate breathtaking stories of ignorance.
And it all began in the 1960s. First, affirmative action or open enrollment was begun, which initiated an acceptance of lower standards. Proven instructional practices were abandoned so much so that today's college student majoring in history knows less than people aged 70+ who obtained only a high school degree. Instead, "preferred pronouns, gender-neutral bathrooms, and pansexuality" are the topics in a 21st-century classroom.
Incrementally, "progressive educators succeeded in stripping away any semblance of a coherent grade-by-grade curriculum." Mushy educational theories such as whole language, Eurocentric curricula, and the belief that memorization and "mere facts" are useless now permeated the halls of learning, and children were set adrift. Every year, another "new" but totally confusing way to learn mathematics was introduced. The latest assault is the abandonment of cursive writing.
As could be expected from all these actions, the racial achievement gaps loom larger each year. Vocabulary study has all but been abandoned so that my college students do not know the meaning of words that used to be part of the seventh grade vocabulary list. If they have such a huge vocabulary gap, it has, in effect, rendered them incapable of writing and articulating ideas well.
Thus, it is totally understandable why parents, especially those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, would see charter schools as the panacea. But how will the charter schools begin to incorporate a knowledge-based curriculum, and even more importantly, why can't public schools do the same? Public schools were the means for assimilating students to appreciate America; instead, charter schools may lead to a balkanization of American students so that genuine diversity is not promoted.
Another disturbing aspect of charter schools is highlighted by Siddique Malik, who has written of the "dangerous mirage of charter schools" that will, in effect, warm the hearts of "Saudi propaganda strategists [who] will love any American state's public school system going charter because [then] their agents will ... invoke the U.S. Constitution's equality clauses to demand public money for certain schools that will eventually become Saudi Arabia's satellite schools." Currently, in public schools, sixth-grade students are being force-fed Islam in a public school classroom. How much worse will it become when charter schools are able to do this?
Over 100 Islamist tax-funded charter schools are currently operating in the United States. They are schools that follow the Sunni imam Fethullah Gülen, leader of a politically powerful Turkish religion movement. Arnold Ahlert explains that a "federal document released in 2011 ... posits that Gulen's charter schools may in fact be madrassahs, where students are 'brain-washed' to serve as proponents of the New Islamic World Order Gulen purportedly seeks to create." In addition, The Gülen schools are among the nation's largest users of H-1B visas, used to import foreign workers with technical skills to fill job shortages of qualified American workers. Parents have alleged that certified, competent American teachers have been replaced at higher salaries by uncertified Turkish men who speak limited English. They claim that the schools "discriminate against women and non-Turkish teachers and that Gülen teachers receive preferential treatment."
The devil is in the details, and I worry that the rush to charter schools may be ushering in another huge set of problems that will afflict the next generation of students.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/02/charter_schools_are_no_panacea.html#ixzz4Zm2SZHu6
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Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christopher Vian - Openly Gay Teacher of Gulen Dove Science Academy and Gulen apologist ETHICS BOWL representative of Oklahoma
Gulenists at Dove Science Academy stole the lunch money budget of their students surrounding schools were forced to feed their students
Why are they representing Oklahoma in a Ethics Club National Debate?
Here is the disgusting tweets of Dove Science Academy teacher Christopher Vian who is openly Gay
and was merely hired in November 2016. Christopher justifies their "Ethics Club" and the firing of a teacher 2 weeks ago who claims she was fired for being Christian and leading her class into the pledge of allegiance.
Remember, this school is under state audit and has stolen lunch money from the students via a real estate scam. Not much ethics in Christopher Vian disparaging an American teacher who was fired from Dove Science Academy for being "Christian" (her words) and he goes on to disparage her and show his hatred toward non Liberals.
|Dove Science Academy|
Teacher and Gulen enabler
Openly Gay (not that it matters)
TWEETS OF DOVE SCIENCE ACADEMY TEACHER - claims she was fired for being a Christian and leading the class in the Pledge of Allegiance. Dove Science Academy has been under audit since April 2016 copy of audit has been previously discussed.
Mr. Vian seems to justify raising money for a Gulen Shit show is perfectly fine then justifies the firing of another American Teacher by saying she was "Racist, Bigot and other labels while he continued to say it was "about the children" and hide behind the students in the typical Gulen fashion of "Why should students suffer because of the adults?"
Looks like the biggest donors of this fund raiser for "CHARACTER" Is some of the gulenists, that stole millions from the state of Oklahoma
have a team compete in the Ethics Bowl in NYC
Six schools from across the state have been named 2017 Oklahoma Schools of Character: Dove Science Academy OKC, Oklahoma City; Dove Science Academy Elementary, Oklahoma City; Dove Science Academy Tulsa; Eisenhower High School, Lawton; Pryor Junior High; and Whittier Elementary School, Muskogee.
The Schools of Character were chosen by OKchacter.org, Character.org and the state Education Department, and will be recognized by the Oklahoma Legislature in the spring.
Additionally, each school will be submitted for selection as a 2017 National School of Character, according to a news release.
Dove Science Academy OKC, 919 NW 23, will hold an assembly at 10 a.m. Friday to celebrate the honor and also for presentation of Student Education and Ethics Development High School Ethics Bowl winners. The public is invited.
Why would Oklahoma name a school to the Ethics Bowl that is under investigation?
DO NOT DONATE TO THIS THEY DON'T DESERVE TO HIDE BEHIND CHILDREN.
Copy of Dove Science Academy audit
Dove Science Academy State Audit click here
Here is the latest Dove Science Academy NEW Superintendent of course they selected a Turkish Male Gulenists. Americans no need to apply unless you are desperate like Christoper Vian who was fired from public schools and seems to think being a Chicken Shit ass kisser for Dove Science Academy will guarantee him a job.
Here is just a few well -known gulenists that follow the new superintendent for corrupt Dove Science Academy's twitter account