Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Charter School Expert's Remarks On So-Called Gulen Charter Schools

Let's take heed of what charter school experts
say about Gulen charter schools
 I am a Charter School operator. I would like to give a brief look at how charter schools are established and run.

But before that I would like to touch upon the controversy going on around the charter schools that are allegedly linked to the Gulen Movement and Fethullah Gulen who is a moderate Muslim scholar and an advocate of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. These so-called gulen charter schools, e.g. Horizon Science Academies and Noble Academies in Ohio are some of the best charter schools in their 12th year of existence. Despite all the difficulties that a charter school would normally face, they had a lot of outstanding accomplishments over the course of 12 years. Annual state reports illuminate that they show dramatic improvements academically and financially from the very beginning. And these so-called gulen charter schools have been rewarded and honored by federal and state officials, city officials, and charter school associations numerous times.

Although these schools have a remarkable history, there have been some rumors, attacks, and misinformation regarding Horizon and Noble Academies, so-called gulen charter schools.
These schools are public schools, firstly they are audited by state auditors every year, audit reports are public reports and can be viewed from official websites of state auditors. If there are some wrongdoings, they should be on Audit reports which is not the case.
Secondly, there are sponsors who oversight the schools from every aspects. Sponsors visit the schools regularly, visit the classrooms and check the school environments, attend the board meetings. They are so involved with the schools, if there are something not right, do you think they won’t write in their reports? Absolutely no.
Thirdly, Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has full authority to control and check the schools. ODE is always in direct contact with sponsors and gets reports from them, as well. If there is a major problem related to schools, ODE has a right to investigate anything. Has it happened until now? Absolutely no.

Anti-charter network targets Mr. Gulen
and  Gulen charter schools in the US

I think everybody should understand the fact that opening a public charter school is not an easy job. Especially, the first two-three years are the most difficult years financially and academically. You need to have well advertisement strategies to attract parents in order to reach required amount of students at the beginning of the school year so that the school can stand financially stable for the first couple of years. In the meantime, the new school should prove itself academically with the underprivileged, inner-city students who are generally several grade levels behind their peers. Since I have been through all of these facts, I am declaring that starting and operating a public charter school is a very difficult task.

You should operate the school smoothly and safely even though you have lots of matters regarding facility, quality of staffing, establishing new school culture, etc. For students and parents, first years are also the transition time because of the new school system, new school culture, structured environment and uniform rules, etc. As known, change is not an easy process for the stakeholders. Besides, it takes time to be able to get a stable school environment.

In the end, I am trying to justify these attacks against so-called Gulen charter schools. Unfortunately, I am not able to find any reasonable explanation because those attacks don’t have any rational foundation. It might be that we don’t see who are the people behind the doors that organize the attacks, or that they may have a hidden agenda. I believe this will be revealed, eventually.


  1. As we know destroying is much easier than building. Let's face it. One group builds something (a school, not a drug house), the other group is trying to destroy it with an organized attack. Have the second group ever asked themselves what they are building? May be they are building something we do not know as we do not see their pocket. How decent! Congrats you all! What is it that you give to your community while you eagerly keep destroying? As they say, wolves like foggy weather since they are always on a hunt!

  2. So if all above mentioned is correct, and if based on all those criterion those so called schools are still in operations, then really what the problem is? As a parent, my first priority is my child's education, and let me tell you this; my child is receiving the top quality education at Horizon for free, and I am so proud parent of Horizon Science Academy.

  3. Good job and Congrats to you all. Thanks for everything that you are doing for our children!

  4. It does not have to be so hard for someone to understand that all of public schools are under strict supervision and surveillance. Because it is open to public. Anyone can check and find out what is going on. The truth is they are trying to create paranoia and benefit from this.

  5. If only the Cleveland municipal school district received half the amount of scrutiny and overhead that charter schools receive it might not be one of the worst schools districts in the nation. There is more unchecked corruption and misuse of funds happening at local public schools than anyone would like to believe. They are trying to bring attention to charter schools, where every last dime must be accounted for, to distract attention from their own broken system. The "good ole' boys" club is definitely looking out for number one , and that's not the children.

  6. I have read so many different blogs.

    I am really confused about all of arguments about gulen charter schools.

    Which one is the true one? Take that blog as an example:

    You might find such kind of blank pages about gulen charter schools system.

    There is a huge conflict in this issue.

    I am really not sure to find the truth.

  7. For a better judgment; we need to refer to data. I am talking about the data that these schools are contributing to nation's education. It is very easy to find out, go to school report cards that are publicized in the state department of education websites. You will see they are the best performing and the best rated schools. If the quality is concern, schools are doing their parts, based on all these we need to support these schools according to real and reliable data, not the data that is served from nowhere. I believe so.

  8. The current trend is choice in education. Choice in education means that every child has equal access to a quality education. This can only be provided by empowering parents, increasing choice, and promoting innovative solutions to educational challenges. Charter schools do all these. That is why support is growing in many State Legislatures to expand who can authorize or sponsor charter schools.

    However there are some charter school opponents who seem to follow Joseph Goebbels, German politician and Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany. As one of Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism. This guy says: “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”

    Now if we go back and look at what charter school opponents do, we will see that all they do is simply keep repeating: Misuse of public money, tax money, illegal immigration, and exaggerated or abnormal fear of strangers or foreigners…etc. Again the same guy says: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”

    As an advocate for charter school, particularly Concept Schools, I decided to conduct a simple research concerning the often overlooked and/or forgotten issues and concerns pertaining to the population of people of color. I picked two students: one from East Cleveland and the other is from Beachwood, OH. Both began 6th grade in August 2004 and graduated high school in June 2011. Both stayed in the same school/district and spent 7 years. While the total cost for the first student can not make it $50,000, for the second student, it exceeds $125,000. This is just for one student. That is a frightening conclusion.
    The charter schools opened by Concept Schools have become a hope for many families in the Midwest area. For many of them, their first family members went to colleges after graduating Horizon schools. Now you want to take that away from people of color by your lies and disgusting propaganda? I hope not!

  9. It seems that you are very knowledgeable about Charter schools movement. As a parent I believe in school’s choice. If a school is successful whether it is charter or traditional school, that school should continue forever with the accountability compliances. Attacks to such an outstanding schools like Concept Schools are meaningless.

  10. I've tired with the disinformation produced by same sources about charter schools. This article shows how some people is manipulating. I would like to thank to the author.

  11. What a great man he is! I do not understand what this has to do with our education system and our kids? I wish we have great people here like him.

  12. My experience, as a mother of students in the middle and the high school is that teachers have pushed my children to achieve more than I ever thought they could achieve. It truly is a wonderful school. I always support charter schools.

  13. It sad that such schools that have achieved so much and helped so many children can fall victim to the malicious slander of a desperate disgruntled employees.

  14. These schools produce productive members of society who have pride in themselves.Students graduate with high marks, go to college and succeed! I fully support charter schools.


Plese let us know what you think about the issue of the charter schools allegedly linked to Fethullah Gulen and thus labelled as Gulen charter schools.