Thursday, April 24, 2014

False advertising & Concept Schools



This coming fall, Concept Schools will be adding two more charter schools to its collection. Both are in Chicago and come courtesy of the Chicago school board members who voted to approve the two proposals in January.

The promotional brochure designed to attract student enrollment states: “Concept serves 12,000 students in 30 high-performing charter schools across the Midwest, including 3 schools in Chicago.” (1.0 MB pdf) But Concept Schools is intentionally  misleading Chicago’s parents.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gulen Movement 101: Session Two



Navigating the webinar
  • 00:00 – 18:27 min.:  Recap from Session One (overview of Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen Movement, overview of the GM's US activities)
  • 18:28 – 37:10 min.: Concept Schools history, founders, etc.
  • 37:11 – 1:00:45 min: The specific theology of the Gulen Movement (presented by Tim Furman)
  • 1:00:46 – 1:24:40 (end): Local GM-associated organizations, Concept Schools leadership patterns, etc.

Be sure to check out Tim Furman’s excellent commentary about this webinar.

It’s always a head-scratching experience to observe the Gulen charter school operators deny connection to all the other cookie-cutter charter schools in their network. Click on the image and take a look at this very early example of mutually used text.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

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:

“... by insisting on the nonpolitical nature of the GM’s lobbying and public relations efforts, by maintaining ambiguity regarding connectivity between individuals and institutions, by flatly denying suspect hiring and retention practices at affiliated charter schools, by allegedly engaging in gender discrimination at these schools, and by becoming the subjects of state and federal level investigation for financial mismanagement, the GM has opened itself up to intense criticism at best, and to potential criminal implications at worst.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lying like a rug: Concept Schools



Since Concept Schools is willing to lie to Americans about its very fundamental connection to the Gulen Movement’s (GM) larger school network, then what else is it lying about and why should Americans trust anything it claims?

Despite the GM’s best efforts to stay under the radar, each day a few more Americans are becoming aware of its presence here. As followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish imam who has been living on a secluded compound in rural Pennsylvania since the late 1990s, GM members have been busy building up their enormous network of schools around the world, among which are more than 140 publicly-funded charter schools operating in 26 of the United States.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Update on Gulen charter schools



  • 2013-2014: 147 schools in 26 states (# students TBD)
  • 2012-2013: 140 schools in 26 states (59,953 students)
  • 2011-2012: 136 schools in 26 states (51,950 students)
  • 2010-2011: 126 schools in 25 states (44,727 students)

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Expose the Gulen Movement" report



On Saturday, August 31st, I was one of the speakers at the "Expose the Gulen Movement" protest rally held on a farm in the rural, rolling hills around Saylorsburg, PA. We assembled less than two miles from the compound where Fethullah Gulen lives. 

Gulen is considered to be one of the two most powerful men in Turkey. Those who attended the protest have a common interest in shedding light on the Gulen Movement's activities. To many Turks and Turkish-Americans, Gulen is using his power to undermine modernity, secularism, democracy, and women's rights not only in Turkey, but throughout the world.

This is the video of my speech about the Gulen charter schools, starting at 00:45 min.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Expose the Gulen Movement" Protest and Conference

Two upcoming related events, a protest and a conference, will provide Americans with an opportunity to learn more about the Gulen Movement. The protest is an excellent opportunity for those in the NYC, NJ, and PA area to speak out against Gulen charter school expansion.

These protests are forming a bridge across the Atlantic that can help Americans understand more about the dark side of the secretive and controversial Turkish religious group that runs the largest charter school network here!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gulen charter school enrollment in 2012-2013



The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools describes itself as “the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement.” It closely tracks the charter school market share.

In 2012-2013, Gulen charter school enrollment was 59,953 students. The following table contains the figures for each of the schools listed on the NAPCS website (=140) that are Gulen Movement-associated.

In 2011-2012, Gulen charter school enrollment was 51,950 students.

In 2010-2011, Gulen charter school enrollment was 44,727 students.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A pack of lies + some truths




EXCERPT

SOURCE
Yet [the Gulen movement’s] structure, ambitions, and size remain opaque, making assessment of its impact and power difficult... Fethullahci are often loath to declare themselves openly as such.


“The Fethullah Gulen Movement.” Global Politician, 12/31/2008

The precise number of [Fethullah Gulen Community] members is difficult to estimate since some publicly deny affinity or membership with the movement.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Gulen Movement’s subsidized, guided trips to Turkey



In addition to having acquired the operation of the largest network of privately-managed, taxpayer-funded charter schools in the US (currently 135 in 26 states), members of the Gulen Movement are very active with efforts to recruit sympathizers. One of their approaches is to invite academics, journalists, politicians, public officials, and religious community leaders on one of their subsidized, guided trips to Turkey. The trips are also regularly arranged for American students, parents, and teachers associated with the Gulen charter schools.


It must be mentioned that travelers are not always aware of the full intention behind the trips. As one photo journalist from Colorado noticed on the fourth day of travel, "We are beginning to understand the reason for the cultural exchange: it is not simply to meet local leaders and learn about Turkish culture, but also to gain an understanding of the Gülen Movement..."  "Gain an understanding," as in acquiring the perspective fed to them by members of the Gulen Movement over the course of nine to 10 straight days of tightly controlled immersion. This secretive group happens to be highly controversial in Turkey, and elsewhere.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Information about the Gulen Movement



My new paper posted on Scribd contains excerpts about the Gulen Movement from a wide variety of sources such as
  • Congressional Research Service Report prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
  • RAND National Defense Research Institute report
  • Stratfor Global Intelligence Special Report
  • CBS 60 Minutes
  • The New York Times
  • The New Yorker
  • The New Republic
  • Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst
  • Global Politician
  • Reuters
  • The Washington Post

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A trip down memory lane with Oakland’s “American Indian” charter schools & Ben Chavis



Last evening Oakland Tribune education reporter Katy Murphy sent out this tweet: Oakland school board just voted 6-1 to issue "notice of intent to revoke" to three American Indian charters. Final decision in March.

It seemed apropos to take a look back at some memorable news stories about these schools.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

American Indian Model Schools enrollment trends: student retention and demographics



STUDENT RETENTION

American Indian Public Charter School
School Code #6113807
3637 Magee Ave., Oakland, CA

Total Enroll
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
6th>8th
Student retention
2011-12
255
4
121
80
50



71>50
70.4%
2010-11
179
0
82
57
40



66>40
60.6%
2009-10
193
1
71
52
69



77>69
89.6%
2008-09
182
0
66
72
44



62>44
71.0%
2007-08
190
5
77
59
49





2006-07
174
11
62
54
47





2005-06
196

55
55
55
31




2004-05
150

59
59
32





2003-04
132

56
29
26
21




2002-03
162

27
31
28
76




2001-02
106

28
28
50





2000-01
34

11
13
10





1999-00
18

12
0
4


2


1998-99
65

21
6
16
14
8



1997-98
68

15
19
15
19




1996-97
42

12
13
17