Addendum: Documentation Of Scandals Involving Gulen Schools

Scandal-Ridden Gulen Schools

 Turkish-Gulen Charter Schools Under Federal Investigation

The FBI, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor are reported to be investigating a systematic kick-back scheme used by the charter school employees to funnel money—taxpayer sourced money—to the Gulen movement.

Discrimination lawsuit filed against Truebright Science Academy Charter School in Pennsylvania

Truebright is a Turkish-Gulen charter school. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in its 6 April 2013 online edition that a former English teacher at the school had filed a civil rights suit alleging the Turkish-run charter school discriminated against employees based on gender and national origin.

In addition to the suit, at least 9 Truebright staffers filed initial discrimination complaints with the EEOC.

Truebright is currently in a battle to renew its charter. The School Reform Commission voted not to renew Truebright’s charter on 18 different grounds, including poor academic performance and a lack of certified teachers.

This suit was in fact a long time in coming:

Louisiana Gulen Charter School Scandal

• Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in eastern New Orleans was shut down by the state of Louisiana. Among the reasoning for the decision: (i) Turkish teachers who had trouble communicating in English; (ii) Students attending courses with no teachers; (iii) Possible improprieties involving standardized testing; (iv) Allegations of attempted public bribery by Turkish organizations of Louisiana Department of Education officials.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania school districts rejects Gulen Charter School application.

The reasons behind this rejection indicate oddities at best, namely errors cited in the application, including carelessness and numerous “cut and paste” segments from other charter school applications which had no relevance to the application at hand. A total lack of knowledge by the applicants of curriculum planning and an insufficient amount of lesson plans.

Ohio Gulen Charter Schools Targeted by Department of Labor Investigation

One of the sixteen Gulen charter schools in Ohio was targeted by the Dept of Labor for its use of H1-B visas. The investigation had been ongoing since 2008.

Auditors found some very unusual line item entries on the school administrator’s books, including fees paid to people living in Turkey and people never employed by the school.  There was even an item listed as $13,000 for “illegal immigration fees.”

Note also that the property owner of the schools, from which the schools lease property, is located in Turkey. That property owner gets $600,000 over 5 years of Ohio taxpayer money.

 Peoria, Illinois Gulen Charter School Operator Denies Association with Gulen

The operator of Quest Charter Academy in Peoria, Illinois, Engin Blackstone (aka Elgin Karatas), told CBS’ 60 Minutes that his school had no association with Fethullah Gulen. However, in the article linked below, in the comments section, the spouse of a former Quest employee claims that her husband accompanied Blackstone/Karatas on a trip to visit personally with Fethullah Gulen himelf…

Massachusetts Gulen School Gets High Marks Despite Bad Data

The Pioneer Charter School of Science won praise from state education officials. But an examination of the school’s actual performance told a different story:

• Students with disabilities experienced a high attrition rate, possibly impacting test scores.

• The overall attrition rate among students was unusually high.

• $84,215 of the school’s annual budget went to legal and immigration-related fees. An interesting sidenote, while Pioneer was hiring foreign teachers to fill its needs, a Boston charter school (not a Turkish-Gulen school) had openings for 58 teachers and received 4,100 applicants.

• Only 56.7% of Pioneer’s teachers were licensed in their teaching assignment. By comparison, in local public schools, 99.5% of teachers were licensed and statewide in Massachusetts, the figure was 97.5%.

Loudon County, Virginia School Board Turns Down Charter for Gulen School

This Gulenist school’s charter application was denied because:

  • Significant gaps in academic and operational plans submitted by the applicants:
  • Loose curriculum
  • Questionable financial assumptions
  • Inadequate transportation plan

The Loudon school was going to be modeled after a Gulen school in Anne Arundel County, VA that had a troubled past with questionable management practices, including financial ones. In fact the school ended up in a lawsuit with the school board over its charter.

 Mary Addi, a former Gulen school teacher from Cleveland, Ohio, reports discriminatory and illegal activity in Gulen schools:

Three Georgia Gulen Schools in Financial Scandal

The New York Times exposed three Gulen charter schools in Fulton County, GA. The schools defaulted on bonds and improperly granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to businesses and groups tied to the Gulen movement.

Note also that this article refers back to similar dealings by 36 Gulen charter schools in Texas.

One of the Georgia schools was shut down and the audit of the other two revealed misappropriation of funds:

Minnesota Gulen Charter School Culls Out Special Needs Children

This aligns with the high attrition rate of special needs students cited above in the article on Massachusetts Gulen charter schools. It seems Gulen charter schools don’t like to handle special needs kids because it hurts test scores…

Texas Gulen Charter School Administrator Investigated for Academic Fraud

The administrator of one of the 36 Gulen charter schools in Texas was investigated for illegally changing student grades…

Audit of San Antonio, Texas Gulen charter school reveals extensive misappropriation of funds.

A state auditor found $186,000 in misspent federal grant money.

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Chief found to also be on board of Gulen charter school (conflict of interest)

2007 Legal Case between Horizon Science Academy of Columbus, Ohio and the US Department of Labor

This is a case in which a Gulen Charter school appears to have been making up non-existent positions for Turkish aliens. The entire case decision is at the link. The court determined that green card/permanent residency status was not appropriate because there was in fact no bona fide position at the school…

Texas Gulen Charter Schools Award Contracts to Turkish Firms Over Lower Bidders

Harmony Gulen Charter schools in Texas have awarded construction contracts to Turkish-owned firms over American firms that had lower bids…

Utah Gulen Charter School Spent $53,000 on immigration fees, less than $100,000 on textbooks…

Turkish Group Did Legal Work for Ohio Congresswoman, didn’t bill her

While this article is not directly related to Gulen Charter schools, given that Gulen schools are particularly active in Ohio and given the extensive foreign influence operations conducted by the Gulenist movement targeting elected officials, this is certainly of interest:

Her Turkish ethics problems—including trips to Turkey—seem to have contributed to her subsequent defeat.

FBI raid another scandal for charter school company