Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Turkish charter operators under scrutiny

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 6:14 AM

TURKISH OLYMPIAD: Little Rock LISA Academy public charter school students in Turkish Olympiad photo on the schools website. Turkish influence in charter schools nationwide is the subject of a New York Times article.
  • TURKISH OLYMPIAD: Little Rock LISA Academy public charter school students in Turkish Olympiad photo on the school's website. Turkish influence in charter schools nationwide is the subject of a New York Times article.

New York Times reports extensively this morning about the establishment of dozens of charter schools nationwide by a close-knit group of Turkish business people and educators.

Some of the schools’ operators and founders, and many of their suppliers, are followers of Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic Turkish preacher of a moderate brand of Islam whose devotees have built a worldwide religious, social and nationalistic movement in his name. Gulen followers have been involved in starting similar schools around the country — there are about 120 in all, mostly in urban centers in 25 states, one of the largest collections of charter schools in America.

But an examination by The New York Times of the Harmony Schools in Texas casts light on a different area: the way they spend public money. And it raises questions about whether, ultimately, the schools are using taxpayer dollars to benefit the Gulen movement — by giving business to Gulen followers, or through financial arrangements with local foundations that promote Gulen teachings and Turkish culture.

Harmony Schools officials say they scrupulously avoid teaching about religion, and they deny any official connection to the Gulen movement. The say their goal in starting charter schools — publicly financed schools that operate independently from public school districts — has been to foster educational achievement, especially in science and math, where American students so often falter.

Local angle: At least two charter schools in Arkansas, the LISA Academy schools in Little Rock and North Little Rock, were established by leaders with Turkish backgrounds. Democratic power broker Lottie Shackelford once introduced me to a group of Turkish people she was with at a Starbucks and told me, "They even have their own school." She referred to the LISA academies. Complaints have arisen from time to time about the schools relative to treatment of staff and students based on national origin, but leaders have always defended the schools as unaffected by that and unconnected to any Turkish religious movement. Critics of the Gulen movement dispute that in websites such as these, however.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (56)

Showing 1-50 of 56

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-50 of 56

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Letters to President Trump from Fayetteville High

    ABC news features letters written (and read) to soon-to-be President Donald Trump by students in a sociology class at Fayetteville High School.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Sunshine bill filed on restaurant tax records

    Rep. Stephen Magie of Conway today introduced legislation to repeal former Rep. Micah Neal's 2015 bill that exempted restaurant and hotel sales tax records from the state Freedom of Information Act.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Comparing a tax cut with a tax credit

    Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families have compared the cost and impact of two tax relief bills that came out of the House committee this morning — Gov. Asa Hutchinson's income tax cut for those making less than $21,000 a year and Rep. Warwick Sabin's bill to give an earned income tax credit to state taxpayers equal to 5 percent of the
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Thursday's open line, plus news

    • Y'know how you're like this anti-Semitic white-nationalist neo-Nazi blogger, podcaster and founder of the alt.right…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Antiabortion bill passed by committee

    • "Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton) asked Leigh who would dare "call into question the understanding" of…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: The meanie report: Assessing the Terrible Ten

    • WELCOME TO THE GREAT BROTHERHOOD OF KINGDOM OF RICHES [ILLUMINATI] OF THE WHOLE WORLD WIDE…

    • on January 19, 2017

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation