Monday, August 29, 2011

Gulen Charter Schools: More from Islamophobia Report

Center for American Progress summaries how ultra-nationalists are organized and funded. This draws a clear picture of actions of bloggers who attack so-called Gulen charter schools
Fast facts on the Islamophobia network 
This in-depth investigation conducted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund reveals not a vast right-wing conspiracy behind the rise of Islamophobia in our nation but rather a small, tightly networked group of misinformation experts guiding an effort that reaches millions of Americans through effective advocates, media partners, and grassroots organizing. This spreading of hate and misinformation primarily starts with five key people and their organizations, which are sustained by funding from a clutch of key foundations. 
The funding 
• More than $40 million flowed from seven foundations over 10 years.
• The foundations funding the misinformation experts:
Donors Capital Fund; Richard Mellon Scaife Foundation;
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation; Newton and Rochelle Becker
Foundation and Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust;
Russell Berrie Foundation, Anchorage Charitable Fund and William
Rosenwald Family Fund; Fairbrook Foundation.
The misinformation experts 
• Five experts generate the false facts and materials used by political leaders, grassroots groups, and the media:
• Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy
• David Yerushalmi at the Society of Americans for National Existence
• Daniel Pipes at the Middle East Forum
• Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and Stop Islamization of America
• Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism
These experts travel the country and work with or testify before state legislatures calling for a ban on the nonexisting threat of Sharia law in America and proclaiming that the vast majority of mosques in our country harbor Islamist terrorists or sympathizers.
David Yerushalmi’s “model legislation” banning Sharia law has been cut and pasted into bills in South Carolina, Texas, and Alaska. His video on how to draft an anti-Sharia bill and his online tools have been picked up nationwide.
The reach 
• The movement is moving nationwide in more than 23 states—made possible by a combination of new, single-minded Islamophobia groups, exemplified by Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT! For America, Pam Geller’s Stop Islamization of America, David Horowitz’s Freedom Center, and existing groups such as the American Family Association and the Eagle Forum.
• Misinformation experts are broadcast around the country and the world, with their work cited many times by (among others) confessed Norway terrorist Anders Breivik.
• U.S. politicians such as Reps. Peter King (R-NY), Allen West (R-FL), and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) repeat these anti-Muslim attacks give credence to incorrect facts.
The impact 
• This small network of people is driving the national and global debates that have real consequences on the public dialogue and on American Muslims.
• In September 2010, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 49 percent of Americans held an unfavorable view of Islam, a significant increase from 39 percent in October of 2002.
Why it matters 
• These attacks go right to the heart of two critically important national issues: the fabric and strength of our democracy and our national security. Our Constitution upholds freedom of religion for all Americans.  Contending that some religions are not part of the promise of American freedoms established by our founders directly challenges who we are as a nation.
• One of Al Qaeda’s greatest recruitment and propaganda tool is the assertion that the West is at war with Islam and Muslims—an argument that is strengthened every day by those who suggest all Muslims are terrorists and all those practicing Islam are jeopardizing U.S. security.
Source: Fear, Inc.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Financial Sources of Anti-Charter Groups Named

Supporters of Islamophobia in US donated about $43 million during the last decade a report says. 

"Sometimes the money flowing from these foundations and their donors is clearly designed to promote Islamophobia, but more often the support provided is for general purpose use, which the think tanks and grassroots organizations then put to use on their primary purpose - spreading their messages of hate and fear as far and wide as they can," according to the report from the Washington-based the Centre for American Progress (CAP).

The report also points out the cooperation between hate groups to organize attacks against so-called Gulen charter schools: "At its 2011 Eagle Forum conference in St. Louis, Missouri, for example, Gabriel, Gaffney, and others in the network revealed a new supposed threat: Muslim Gulen schools, which they claim would educate children through the lens of Islam and teach them to “hate Americans.” Worse, the speakers alleged that President Obama’s support for charter school reforms was a back-door strategy for using taxpayer money to fund the schools."

For more information visit the Center for American Progress web site.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Imaginary Gulen Charter Schools and Getting Help from Overseas

This article is about Gulen charter schools: Once again, Mary and the alike are wrong in presenting the reality and information. She refers to the results of an internationally administered test (PISA) and ridicules the fact that Turkish students are behind their US peers in reading and math, so she asks how bringing Turkish teachers is going to help American kids. (tags: gulen charter schools)

As she is not a researcher, she is not very bright, either. It takes about only five minutes to look at the data presented by PISA reports and figure out that the reality is not so. []

Although American kids' average score is 500 in reading and literacy, the results are very much diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and level of income. Asian and white American kids scored 50-100 points more than their black and Hispanic peers. (charter article: gulen charter schools) The difference between the wealthy and the poor is worse, more than 110 (pp. 15-16).

This is the reality in the U.S., this is called the achievement gap educators must be attacking as of last decade. If we compare these results, you could say Asian American kids are living in South Korea, the number one among OECD countries, and African American kids are living in Chile, the bottom of the chart. Unfortunately, such gaps exist in many countries, not necessarily only by race, ethnicity and wealth but other factors as well, though, wealth is considered a common factor.

The PISA reports also compare how 15-year-old kids from different percentiles scored by country. The 5th percentile of kids from Turkey scored 325 in reading while their American peers 339. At the 90th percentile, the scores are 569 and 625 respectively. This means that Turkish kids who scored at the 90th percentile had better average than their Asian American peers in average (541) at all percentiles.

Majority of Turkish teachers at the charter schools managed by Concept Schools -so-called Gulen charter schools are coming from top universities in Turkey where only kids who perform at the 95th percentile or higher are accepted. The cut-off scores at the state-administered university-entrance exams for these universities fall into the top one percent. Language barriers can be tackled easily but core knowledge in subjects like math and science takes years of quality education and training.

When we look at the demographics at the Concept-managed charter schools -imaginary Gulen charter schools-, maybe we could estimate how students at these schools would perform had they taken the PISA test. The average free and reduced lunch eligibility at Concept-managed schools -so-called Gulen charter schools- is about 75%. The PISA results show that American kids at the 75% of free and reduced-price lunch eligibility received an average score of 446. Since students at Concept-managed schools -what they call Gulen charter schools - outperform their peers in their respective cities at the state-administered tests, it would not be wrong to estimate that they will score around and above 446 and it would not definitely be wrong at all to import teachers from countries overseas or groups with high scoring averages.

I do not think Mary and the alike will follow my advice, but I will share anyways. Let's listen to what the Secretary of Education, Mr. Duncan, tells us today (1/31/2011). Along with other well-known public figures, he points out that only 2% of teachers today are black males and "the nation’s teacher workforce does not reflect the diversity of its student when only one in 50 teachers is a black male. This is a national problem." With more than 70% African American students attending to Concept-managed schools -so-called Gulen charter schools with 100% college acceptance rate, we have a chance to respond to Mr. Duncan's call and encourage our students to attend to college, and colleges of education in particular.

So, let's use our energy and means to focus on this problem. Let's focus on raising more teachers. Let's focus on closing the achievement gap. Horizon Science Academy Cleveland High School -an imaginary Gulen charter schools- with an excellent record of being a college prep school, has received the National Recognition for nothing but closing the gap.

It takes a village to raise a kid. It would definitely take the whole world to change a generation. At this day and age, the globe has become one giant village.

Why shouldn't we call these school Gulen charter schools?

And, why do we call this site Gulen charter schools forum?

Schools around the world that are associated with the Gulen Movement are mainly tuition-based private schools. These schools are operated by private firms owned by Turkish businessmen, sometimes partnered with local firms. They claim a hundred percent ownership.

Charter schools are not private schools. They are public schools because they are funded by the states they are located in. Federal law requires charter schools to be owned and established by a non-profit organization. The board of directors of a non-profit organization may choose to hire a charter management organization to run their school or choose to operate the school by themselves. Majority of the boards around the country do not have this expertise. This is why usually charter schools advertise themselves as “tuition-free privately-run public schools.” Law also gives charter schools more freedom in forming their own sets of rules allowing them to stay innovative and quickly respond to unexpected conditions. 

We cannot call charter schools operated by Turkish individuals or organizations Gulen charter schools because they are public charter schools operated and overseen under federal and state laws of non-profit organizations. No person can claim any ownership of any of the schools in question. All of the so-called Gulen charter schools are audited annually by state auditors in their respective states.

There are a group of anti-charter, anti-Turkish websites on the Internet whose operators are disgruntled teachers, teacher unions, or anti-Gulen Movement groups from Turkey. Their job is to form a web of blogs to reach out parents to diverge them from sending their kids to these schools through misinformation, false accusations and lies. News articles on this issue refer to these blogs instead of parents who send their loved ones to these schools. Who would you trust? A few disgruntled ex-teachers or thousands of parents who keep their kids at these schools?

We call our website Gulen charter schools forum to be on the same page with these xenophobic websites when a parent, a researcher or a teacher searches Gulen charter schools on the web so that the truth can also be seen along with their lies.

Truth prevails. Stay with us.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tax money pays for visa expenses at Gulen charter schools

America belongs to immigrants. Who would argue this? (Probably, immigrants who arrived earlier and, of course, Native Americans. J)

We will not discuss US immigration policies here, however, for the sake of the argument; we can say that her most welcoming laws and policies are based this very fact. Founding fathers knew this and they embedded it into the law.

In this day and age, the world has become a global village with billions traveling around; trillions of dollars are invested in and out of countries. Governmental expenses and investments probably form a significant portion of the global trade. As such, taxes we pay each year are spent and invested domestically as well as internationally, and travel the world million times.

The reason we mention all this is that anti-charter bloggers complain about visa expenses Gulen charter schools make because it is their tax money.

You can argue their claim from many aspects. One would be, as long as state auditors audit schools annually and approve expenditures, tax money belongs to schools. You cannot argue then how schools allocate their funding. This fact gives them the goosebumps the most.

However, the most important aspect they are having trouble with is that if everybody on Earth would request their tax money to be spent as they wishes and not for the others, we would not have any government at all (a Tea Party dream! J).

Here is an example...

The Government of Turkey initiated a project to increase the number of universities across the country within the following fifteen to twenty years in early 1990s. To fill the faculty positions these future universities would need, the Government borrowed interest-bearing millions of dollars from the World Bank to sponsor thousands of Turkish nationals to pursue Master’s and Doctorate degrees at prestigious universities around the world. This was a big investment for the future of Turkey and these days we see the results of this grand project: the number of universities has been quadrupled and most of the positions have been filled by mainly US-educated professors.

The cost of this project to Turkish tax payers: billions of dollars and majority of it was paid to US institutions. Thousands of graduate students have attended US colleges and universities and their tuition, living expenses and health insurance have been paid by the Government. Each graduate receives a montly allowance of $1,200. It takes 5-7 years to finish a Ph.D. You do the math. In average, $85,000 is paid for living expenses only. The project still continues!

Should Turkish taxpayers complain about their Government’s payments to US institutions? Especially, because the receipient is a foreigner?

The first thing that comes to your mind is what? “Well, this is a trade. You pay and get a quality education back.” Exactly!

This is what American parents receive from Gulen charter schools: Quality education. And, it is in their proposal that their model involves foreign experience. They bring, adopt, alter foreign curriculum, methods, culture, and blend them altogether with local experience. That’s why parents at these schools are attracted and put their names on waiting lists.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

FBI Scrutinizes Attackers of Gulen Charter Schools

Horizon Parents on So-called Gulen Charter Schools posts a great article on recent developments involving charter school attackers.

Let's remember what happened in Oslo, the capital of Norway, a couple of weeks ago. A man named Breivik set up bomps in the middle of the city and killed hundreds of people mercilessly. He did this because he had a mission which was dictated to him by a mysterious underground organization that is rooted in the Middle Ages. His mission was to kill everybody who was different than him, his nationality, and his religion. His exclusivism led to the mass kiling of innocent people whose only guilt was to be different than him.

The heartbreaking event in Norway was a warning to all sound minded people across the globe. The message that we draw from it is that ultra-nationalism and xenofobia are as dangerous as cancer for the health of our society.

Foodsteps of ultranationalist terror
After this and the event in Arizona, the United States government has taken a step forward to prevent such events before they take place again here in our country. Now the FBI is conducting a research to scrutinize those individuals and organizations that are promoting ultra-nationalism and xenofobia in U.S. society. An agent who does not want to release his name said that the FBI is very serious on this investigation and they are willing to question everybody who has any suspicious activity to this merit. Without doubt, this investigation includes those who are relentlessly attacking Gulen charter schools. These Gulen charter schools are under attack just because they are managed by Muslim Turks. Turkish educators are legal residents of this country and they are working hard for the better education of our children. Yet some ultra-nationalists undermine them by creating lies and fictions about these schools. They are a netwok of people and this is an organized attack. After each attack, they congratulate each other. Here an example:


The ultimate goal of this group is not to excercise the freedom of speech through these attacks, rather to help to form more hate groups. If there happens to be a hate attack at one of these Gulen charter schools, take this as a warning sign it will be coming from one of these persons, or someone inspired by them. They also develope strategies for how to attack better the Gulen charters:

Between now and the beginning of school keep it up. Blog often and communicate everywhere 2 state officials (2 different states have responded) they are alarmed and want answers, have your back up documentation, if you have problems finding it, reach out to us!!! Hit hard on the Islamic and Turkish indoctrination, money fraud, un credentialed foreign teachers. Paper trail is always good to have. Get local media involved, not all are bought off with expensive ads from the schools, talk to your local school districts, teachers, and politicians. Above all educate yourself on charter state laws, regulations, read Gulen's web site and learn what motivates them. Know thy enemy!!”

I hope this FBI investigation will be a serious warning to the attackers of the Gulen charter schools. If they do not take heed of that and stop their baseless attacks, they will have to bear the consequences. Stop discrimination!