Tim Griffin research on Turkish charter schools for Mike Flynn didn't run deep | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tim Griffin research on Turkish charter schools for Mike Flynn didn't run deep

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 11:41 AM

TURKISH TIE: LISA Academy gets the OK from Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.
  • TURKISH TIE: LISA Academy gets the OK from Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.

An article in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
notes that Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin's name turned up in a Justice Department review of Michael Flynn's political work, specifically on behalf of some Turkish interests opposed to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish exile in the U.S. who's been linked to the operation of charter schools nationwide.

Gulen is an arch-enemy of current Turkish leadership.

Griffin dismissed the matter. He said he was called by a political operative of his acquaintance who wanted to know about ties between Gulen and the LISA Academy charter schools in Arkansas.

Griffin, who made clear he's an advocate of LISA Academy, said he called Scott Smith. He's the Walton Family Foundation-financed head of the Arkansas Public School Resource Center, which promotes charter school establishment. They love them all, no matter who's behind them.

Smith told the D-G that the issue had been raised years ago, but no evidence put forward to support the claim.
"The state Board [of Education] asked some questions about it and as far as I know they weren't able to substantiate anything," Scott Smith said.
I don't recall the state Board making any effort to determine ties between LISA Academy and Gulen (or, for that matter, if it would be of consequence if proved.) But Turkish connections at the school are deep and well-known, beginning with the native Turk founders, the Turkish members of the original board and a great number of Turkish teachers on special visas (because of a shortage of math and science teachers, the school has said.) Anti-Gulen websites have persistently claimed ties between LISA and the Gulen movement, though the shrouded nature of charter school finance and control makes it difficult to easily track relationships. The school has just as persistently disclaimed a tie with the movement.

For someone with time, however, there are threads for a dedicated researcher like Tim Griffin to follow.

Example: Here's a New Orleans report on a questionable contact made by an official of a Texas construction company with ties to a Louisiana charter school "as well as charter schools in other states run by Turkish immigrants." A Texas construction company of the same name, coincidently, did work on the LISA Academy in Little Rock, according to an OSHA news release about citations for safety violations during the work. The New Orleans report notes the tangled relationships of schools, supporting organizations and others and suspicions about Gulen ties  We explored the Turkish background years ago in an article by Jennifer Barnett Reed.

Gee, maybe Griffin should have called us, too.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Is Arkansas in or out on Kobach voter data effort?

    The Washington Post has published a map that counts Arkansas as among states that will "partially comply" with a sweeping request for voter data by the so-called election integrity commission set up by Donald Trump in an effort to cast doubt on Hillary Clinton's 3 million-vote popular defeat of him in 2016.
    • Jul 2, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

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