Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Gulen Movement charter school piece in WaPo

Today the Washington Post published my piece about the Gulen Movement’s US charter schools. It was a guest post for The Answer Sheet, Valerie Strauss’s excellent daily online column on education topics.

The largest charter school network in the United States is operated by people in and associated with the Gulen Movement (GM), a secretive and controversial Turkish religious sect. With 135 schools enrolling more than 45,000 students, this network is substantially larger than KIPP, the well-known charter management organization with only 109 schools. A lack of awareness about this situation persists despite it being addressed in a national paper and in articles about Gulen charter schools in Utah (also here), Arizona, (also here), Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania (also here), Indiana, Oklahoma (and here), Texas (also here), Arkansas, Louisiana (also here), New Jersey, Georgia, and North Carolina. It was also reported that the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education are investigating practices at these schools.

The concerns raised about the charter schools in the GM network have related to questionable admissions practices; the channeling of school funds to close associates; abuse of contractors; participation in biased, GM-created competitions; incidents of bribing; using the schools to generate political connections; science fair projects being done by teachers; unfair hiring and termination practices; and more. Still, authorizers continue to approve charter applications, ill-informed parents continue to use them, and taxpayers keep funding the schools – all without much discussion...

I've provided a lot of great links, so I hope you'll take the time to read the rest and then keep your eye out for more news about the Gulen Movement's schools, and its other activities. At long last, i-n-f-o-r-m-a-t-i-o-n is slowly rising to the surface.

As my friend wrote, “Prohibition from receiving public money should apply if they are a group primarily dedicated to the advancement of a political agenda as well.” In this case, the agenda is geopolitical. 

Update: Read an extended version of the WaPo piece HERE


nikto said...


Anonymous said...

Gulen thinks women are inferior to men. That will inevitably come across in their curriculum. Have you read their curric at all? I'd like to see their history social studies materials posted online!