Monday, April 4, 2011

WikiLeaks and Gulen charter schools

Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer took the lead on exposing the Gulen movement’s involvement in US charter schools by publishing a second article by Martha Woodall and Claudio Gatti, “WikiLeaks files detail U.S. unease over Turks and charter schools.”
Classified documents recently released by WikiLeaks recount U.S. officials' growing concern over large numbers of Turkish men seeking visas to work at American charter schools founded by followers of Fethullah Gulen, a powerful Turkish Muslim political figure who lives in the Poconos.

"Gulen supporters account for an increasing proportion of [the] . . . nonimmigrant visa applicant pool," a consular official in Istanbul, Turkey, wrote in 2006, according to one of the documents posted by WikiLeaks two weeks ago.

"Consular officials have noticed that most of these applicants share a common characteristic: They are generally evasive about their purpose of travel to the United States."...

An analysis of H1-B visas conducted for The Inquirer showed that the number granted for Gulen charter schools has grown substantially since that 2006 report. More than 2,500 have been issued since 2007...

As The Inquirer has reported, several federal agencies - including the FBI and the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education - are investigating whether charter employees working in this country on H1-B visas are kicking back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement Gulen founded known as Hizmet, or "Service," according to sources...

Many scholars consider Gulen's movement a peaceable, moderate strain of Islam, and the federal inquiries have nothing to do with terrorism...

In Turkey, however, Gulen's followers have been accused of pushing for an authoritarian Islamic state.

Last month, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan - the pro-Islamic prime minister - detained Turkish journalists who had alleged that Gulen followers were infiltrating security agencies.

One of the detained journalists, Ahmet Sik, wrote an unpublished book about Gulen, The Imam's Army. A criminal court in Istanbul recently banned it and confiscated copies of the manuscript. A draft was leaked online a few days ago...

Other U.S. documents released by WikiLeaks detail diplomats' efforts to follow the Gulen movement in Turkey and their growing unease as they observed an increase in its followers heading to the United States to teach...

The embassy report questioned Gulen's ultimate aims and said the embassy had evidence the movement pressured Turkish businessmen to give money to Gulenist schools and activities.

"We have multiple reliable reports that the Gulenists use their school network (including dozens of schools in the U.S.) to cherry-pick students they think are susceptible to being molded as proselytizers and we have steadily heard reports about how the schools indoctrinate boarding students," the report said.

Many Gulen-sponsored high schools in Turkey are boarding schools. Scholars who have studied the Gulen movement in Turkey have found that many of those students wind up teaching in U.S. charter schools after earning degrees from Turkish universities with Gulen's support.

One of the most detailed reports in the WikiLeaks cache is titled "Fethullah Gulen: Why Are His Followers Traveling?"

Written from Istanbul in 2006, it describes Gulen as "at the apex of a growing global network of organizations that profess a peace-loving, ecumenical vision of Islam."

The writer continued: "Gulen's activities first piqued consular officers' interest several years ago when applicants began to appear seeking to visit a number of charter schools in the U.S. with which consular officers were unfamiliar."

After interviewing "thousands" of Turks seeking permission to travel to the United States, the consular office in Istanbul compiled "a substantial list of organizations that seem in some way affiliated with Gulen." The roster included the Zaman newspaper in Turkey and 30 charter schools the consular office had identified as of May 2006.

The report said that after U.S. authorities in Istanbul and Ankara denied many of the applicants permission to enter the United States on other types of visas, many returned in 2004 seeking H1-B visas "sponsored by Gulen-affiliated science academies."...

The former teacher also provided a document called a tuzuk, which resembles a contract and prescribes how much money teachers employed on H1-B visas are supposed to return to Hizmet.

But parents and American teachers complain that the Turks employed on H1-B visas - often as math and science teachers - have limited English skills and are paid more than their American counterparts who are certified.

Some have described how uncertified Turkish teachers are moved from one charter school to another when their "emergency" teaching credentials expire. Others recount a pattern of sudden turnovers of Turkish business managers, administrators, and board members...

Last July, I posted some of my findings on the schools' use of H1-B visas, “Gulen schools and their booming H1B visa applications.” 

The Gulen charter school network is larger than any other network in the US (KIPP, Imagine Schools, etc.) Some of the Gulen charter schools earn high test scores, and it is standard practice for the schools to heavily promote themselves. But with the Gulen movement engaging in deceptive practices, their schools' success may also be questionable. One might ask if this is "Success in Education or Success in Marketing?"

Last summer, students from one of Ohio's Gulen charter schools provided entertainment in Chicago at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools-sponsored National Charter Schools Conference. Naturally, Bill Gates and Arne Duncan were speakers at that event.
Turkified students from the Gulenist Horizon Science Academy-Cleveland dancing for charter school supporters.

The Gates Foundation donated millions of dollars ($10,550,000) to the Cosmos Foundation, the Gulen charter school network in Texas, via the Texas High School Project.

Also, it's very strange that, in the midst of a federal investigation about the practices at the Gulen charter schools, Arne Duncan’s Senior Advisor Kenneth Bedell accepted an award on Duncan's behalf from the Rumi Forum (on October 26, 2010), perhaps the premier Gulenist organization in the U.S. Bedell even quotes Fethullah Gulen as he does so! 

The Rumi Forum’s “Honorary President” is Fethullah Gulen “regarded as the founder and inspirer of the global social movement known as the Hizmet (Service) Movement, more popularly known as the Gulen Movement.” 

Added on April 6, 2011: From "Objectives of charter schools with Turkish ties questioned" in USA Today (August 17, 2010):  
"Nelson Smith, former president of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, sees no evidence of an "active network. What I do see is a really impressive group of educators."

1 comment:

ecks why said...

these "gulen" schools are a propaganda front for islam which is dangerous no matter how it is packaged. muslims do not assimilate into western society because islam is a theocracy and demands supremacy.

the twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.

see the links in the pdf version below for more accurate info about islam

islam is a horrible ideology for human rights

5 key things about islam

1. mythical beliefs - all religions have these (faith) because its part of being a religion: having beliefs without proof until after the believer dies. the problem is people will believe almost anything.

2. totalitarianism - islam has no seperation of church and state: sharia law governs all. there is no free will in islam: only submission to the will of allah as conveniently determined by the imams who spew vapors to feather their own nests. there are no moderate muslims: they all support sharia law.

3. violence - islam leads the pack of all religions in violent tenets for their ideology & history: having eternal canonical imperatives for supremacy at all costs and calling for violence & intimidation as basic tools to achieve these goals.

4. dishonesty - only islam has dishonesty as a fundamental tenet: this stems from allah speaking to mohamhead & abrogation in the koran which is used to explain how mo's peaceful early life was superseded by his warlord role later.

5. misogyny - present day islam is still rooted in 8th century social ethics: treating females as property of men good only for children, severely limiting their activities, dressing them in shower curtains and worse.

conclusions ??

there really are NO redeeming qualities for this muddled pile of propaganda.

islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.

graphics version

1 page pdf version - do file/download 6kb viewer doesn't show fonts well, has better fonts header footer links, great for emailing printing etc