UPDATE: If you haven’t seen it, here is Chris Holton’s in-depth post about the Gulen movement, its charter schools and the history of the Kenilworth controversy.
It’s a very hush-hush situation. All the FBI would say about today’s raid is that it doesn’t involve public safety. There are theories about what went on at Kenilworth to attract the FBI’s attention, but it’s premature to share any of them just yet.
Why is this significant? Beyond the unusual nature of the FBI raiding a school, that is.
It’s significant because Kenilworth is a charter school operated by the Pelican Educational Foundation, which is a front group for the Gulen Movement – a shady Turkish Muslim outfit founded by a man named Fethullah Gulen – who some people have called the Ayatollah Khomeini of Turkey. Whether that description is fair or accurate is hard to say, but what’s undeniable is that Gulen’s charter schools – and it just so happens his movement operates more charter schools around the country than anybody else – are scandal factories.
We know this because Pelican used to have a charter for Abramson Science and Technology Center in New Orleans, and that charter was revoked by the state after stories of some wildly inappropriate sexual behavior among students and some even more wildly inappropriate handling of same by school officials and others in the movement – including the offer of a bribe to a state regulator in an effort to make an investigation go away – began to surface.
The Abramson debacle is of a piece with several other Gulen-connected educational disasters happening around the country.
But Kenilworth just got a five-year extension of their charter earlier this year, despite a rocky history that included a couple of lawsuits alleging mistreatment of teachers and students. And then the FBI showed up today.
We’re going to have a great deal more on the Kenilworth situation, as Chris Holton – a frequent contributor to the Hayride – has a great deal of expertise on the Gulen movement and some interesting history with that movement and Kenilworth in particular to offer. Chris will have a post here tomorrow discussing today’s raid and the events leading up to it.