Saturday, June 6, 2020
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What's happening this month at Gulen charters?

The Ohio Board of Education heard reports from parents and former teachers from a charter school in Dayton affiliated with the Turkish Gulen Movement that made their blood boil.

For example, they heard that students were performing oral sex while other students watched at a school festival. The oral sex was allegedly recorded on a surveillance camera at the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

The board ordered an immediate investigation of the 19 Gulen-affiliated charter schools in the state based on what they had heard, including reports of:

  • Direct teacher interference with students taking the state’s standardized tests, as required under federal law
  • A student who was allowed to skip the eighth grade a year after she had failed and then repeated the seventh grade
  • Other violations of state and federal law in following protocol, especially security protocols on standardized tests
  • A failure to provide classrooms and science labs with proper furniture and lab equipment
  • The calling of African-American students “monkeys” and “dogs” by teachers at the school
  • Students who had missed more than a month of school and were dealt no consequences

“Inside, my blood is boiling. It is to me almost incomprehensible,” the Dispatch quoted board member Deborah Cain as saying. “We have got to get to the bottom of this, and every single allegation needs to be investigated to the fullest.”

And in nearby California …

The Los Angeles Unified School District decided not to renew the charters for two Gulen-affiliated schools in that district. The district gave the following reasons for why the charters would not be renewed:

  1. The school presents “an unsound educational program” for its students
  2. The school operators appear to be unlikely to be able to implement the program they promised in the original petition, because the school is insolvent and doesn’t manage its finances properly
  3. The petition itself lacks the appropriate documentation support, such as signatures

We reported last month that the FBI had raided Gulen-affiliated charter schools in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, run by Concept Schools. One of the comments on follow-up takes a closer look at the Gulen Movement in Turkey. However, it is the largest charter organization in the US, and it appears to have strong political and corporate connections in the US and in other countries.

It makes me wonder about things closer to home

There are currently two charter schools in Maryland affiliated with the Gulen movement, run by the Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation. The de facto management organizations are the Washington Educational Foundation and Apple Educational Services. The schools are the Chesapeake Math and IT Academy in Laurel and the Chesapeake Science Point in Hanover.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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