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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Could this be true? Charter School chain wrapped up in Turkey’s Battle With Muslim Cleric

In the same morning that I read this story about an understaffed school in Detroit that hired a 13-year-old to teach math for a month, I come across this one that together help illustrate what is going wrong with public education.  At one end, are the savage inequalities that help subsidize the exorbitant wealth and even shady politics on the other. 

In any case, this is a WSJ STORY TO KEEP UP WITH.  COULD THIS BE TRUE THAT OUR HARD-EARNED, TAXPAYER DOLLARS ARE PART OF A MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME TO WIN VISAS FOR TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS FROM TURKEY?

Mr. Amsterdam is aiming to tie the schools on his list to Mr. Gulen and expose what he said is a “money laundering” scheme. Some schools, he said, illegally use public funding to pay for immigration lawyers to win visas for teachers and administrators from Turkey. The schools then expect these Turkish employees to donate to the Gulenist movement, he said, and pressure them to donate to American politicians who advocate for Mr. Gulen.

The schools, he said, illustrate why Mr. Gulen should be extradited. They “give him political influence in a very big way,” he said.
Our own Texas Education Agency is conducting an investigation of Harmony Schools.  Here's the allegation currently being pursued by Lawyer Robert Amsterdam:

He alleged that the parent company of the schools hired Gulen supporters from Turkey, paid them more than other teachers and required them to donate to politicians.
The TEA said it is reviewing the complaint to determine if it should launch a formal investigation into some of the allegations, including whether the schools gave preferences to some vendors and misused state and federal funds. Harmony denied Mr. Amsterdam’s allegations and said it is cooperating with the review.
Check out Gulen's posh living and working environment in the Pocono Mountains.   

There's definitely public dollars to be made on the backs of our children and in the face of grinding inequality in so many of our nation's schools.  See the connections, my friends?  

The so-called "free market of schooling" amounts to little more than a freedom to exploit the public purse and so doing, thwart the public, democratic purposes of schooling—and indeed, to foster ever greater inequalities.  To imagine beyond this how they may be embroiled in global politics is a perspective that this story asks us to consider.

Angela Valenzuela
c/s


Turkey’s Battle With Muslim Cleric Careens Through U.S. Classrooms


American charter schools have become embroiled in a proxy fight between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen


Lawyer Robert Amsterdam is working for the government of Turkey to investigate schools and other institutions he says are connected to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish officials blame for July’s coup attempt.Lawyer Robert Amsterdam is working for the government of Turkey to investigate schools and other institutions he says are connected to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish officials blame for July’s coup attempt. Photo: Stephen Voss for The Wall Street Journal


A global proxy war between the president of Turkey and his No. 1 nemesis played out early this year in an otherwise routine public-school board meeting in Fremont, Calif.
On the agenda during the January meeting was a pitch from the chief executive of a California charter-school chain, which had proposed opening an outpost in the Silicon Valley suburb.
Also in attendance, and bearing a long list of objections, was a lawyer representing the Republic of Turkey.

The attorney, from London-based Amsterdam & Partners LLP, “has been following us around lately” trying to block the chain’s projects, Caprice Young, chief executive of Magnolia Public Schools, told the Fremont board. “He is a representative of the Turkish government who seems to believe that we are affiliated with a religious group with whom we are not affiliated.”

SEE VIDEO HERE:  Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan pinned the coup attempt that gripped the country on a self-exiled cleric living in the U.S. named Fethullah Gulen. Gulen denies any involvement. Here’s a closer look at this influential preacher. Photo: AP (Originally published July 18, 2016) 
Magnolia is among hundreds of targets in a battle between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his former political ally Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric with millions of global followers, who left Turkey in 1999 and lives in Pennsylvania.
Turkish officials blame Mr. Gulen for orchestrating a July 15 coup attempt. They accuse him of trying to subvert the democratically elected government via positions his sympathizers hold in the judiciary, police and academia.
Turkey has asked the U.S. to extradite Mr. Gulen on charges unrelated to the putsch. U.S. officials have said they would consider all evidence Turkey presents as part of an extradition request; privately, many senior U.S. officials said they are skeptical of Turkey’s claims against Mr. Gulen.

Mr. Gulen’s network is hard to define. His supporters run schools and foundations around the world with clear ties to him. His links to other institutions are less clear, including to U.S. schools such as Magnolia. The chain was founded by two Gulen sympathizers and counts Gulen admirers among its teachers, said its CEO, Dr. Young. She said Magnolia has no legal, financial or governance connection with him.

Robert Amsterdam, whose firm was hired by Turkey, said he has about 25 employees and consultants fanned out around the globe to prove a theory, an effort that predated the coup attempt and has gathered momentum since. Roughly 150 schools in the U.S., and hundreds of other academic institutions and businesses around the world, he claims, channel millions of dollars annually to the Gulen movement.

“This is truly a global political and criminal movement,” said Mr. Amsterdam. “In the U.S., they’re teaching 60,000 students. I don’t know how they have time to teach when they spend so much time gaming the system.”

A Turkish embassy official in Washington referred inquiries to Mr. Amsterdam.
On a recent day, Mr. Gulen sat on a gold-colored couch in a book-lined office in a former summer camp in Saylorsburg, Pa., a Pocono Mountains town. He agreed to meet and be photographed but declined to speak, citing health concerns.

Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen at his Pennsylvania compound.Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen at his Pennsylvania compound. Photo: Ianthe Dugan/The Wall Street Journal

His representatives referred inquiries to Yuksel Alp Aslandogan, executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values, a nonprofit that promotes Mr. Gulen’s ideas and his “Hizmet” movement. Mr. Gulen denies involvement in the failed coup, denies trying to subvert the government and is opposed to violence, said Mr. Aslandogan. The cleric, he said, is 77 or 78 years old.

Mr. Aslandogan defended the movement, saying: “There are hundreds of businesses and NGOs within the Hizmet movement that have been legally operating around the world…and have been praised by local authorities and heads of state for their contributions to the country in which they operate.”

Some U.S. schools on Mr. Amsterdam’s hit list were founded by Gulen sympathizers but Mr. Gulen doesn’t run them, said Mr. Aslandogan, who himself helped start a school in Chicago.

‘Money laundering’

Mr. Amsterdam is aiming to tie the schools on his list to Mr. Gulen and expose what he said is a “money laundering” scheme. Some schools, he said, illegally use public funding to pay for immigration lawyers to win visas for teachers and administrators from Turkey. The schools then expect these Turkish employees to donate to the Gulenist movement, he said, and pressure them to donate to American politicians who advocate for Mr. Gulen.

The schools, he said, illustrate why Mr. Gulen should be extradited. They “give him political influence in a very big way,” he said.

Caprice Young, CEO of Magnolia Public Schools, one target of Mr. Amsterdam’s team, says the California charter-school chain was founded by sympathizers of Mr. Gulen but has no affiliation with him. Caprice Young, CEO of Magnolia Public Schools, one target of Mr. Amsterdam’s team, says the California charter-school chain was founded by sympathizers of Mr. Gulen but has no affiliation with him. Photo: Michal Czerwonka for The Wall Street Journal   Continue reading story here.

1 comment:

  1. Caprice Young is a pathological liar anything is possible she would sell her 3 daughters to a turkish whore house just to make a buck.

    ReplyDelete