Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's Going On in Charter Schools?

Charter schools have opened up a path for foreigners to run schools at the expense of U.S. taxpayers, mostly without news coverage. A Turkish group, called the Gulen Movement, which is headed by a Turkish preacher named Fethullah Gulen, had established a network of schools in 100 other countries. He them opened his first U.S. charter school in 1999. Gulen's schools spread rapidly after he figured out how to work our system and get the U.S. taxpayers to finance his recruitment of followers for his worldwide religious and social movement.

The Gulen Movement now operates the largest charter school network in the United States. It has 135 schools teaching more than 45,000 students in at least 26 states, financed by millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars a year. The principals and school board members are usually Turkish men. Hundreds of Turkish teachers (referred to as "international" teachers) and administrators have been admitted to the United States, often using H-1B visas, after claiming qualified Americans cannot be found.

According to a guest post in the Washington Post in March this year, Gulen's U.S. schools have been openly discussed in the Turkish press. The goal for Gulen's schools is to "teach tens of thousands of people the Turkish language, introduce them to our culture and win them over," and so the schools regularly take students to Turkey for "cultural immersion."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that some charter schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge are linked to businesses run by people from Turkey. In Texas, Turkish charter schools have received over $100 million in government funds. These Texas schools now have 290 (mostly Turkish) employees on H-!B visas, about 16% of its workforce.

Most American taxpayers would be mighty surprised at what their money is financing.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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