Sunday, March 20, 2011

US follows Europe's mistakes ~ Weird Turkish Islam-inspired schools growing in Ohio ~ American teachers face discrimination at schools

“You’re always going to fear what you don’t know,” said Mimi Cox, who sends her three children to Horizon academies in Dayton. “Nobody is pushing their religion on anybody.”

Ucan said it shouldn’t matter whether the schools are Gülen-inspired “as long as no one is imposing any ideas upon anyone. That’s what makes America America.”

At least look at what is happening with these schools in other countries.

Netherlands:


ROTTERDAM, 18/07/08 - - Rotterdam is investigating whether Turkish organisations in the city have links with the controversial Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. The city council adopted a motion yesterday ordering the council executive to do so.

The city council wants the money flows to be investigated that go to Turkish boarding schools... These Turkish institutions, of which most receive subsidies, behave as if they consider integration important, but are actually targeting an Islamic state in the Netherlands, TV programme NOVA recently reported.... [+]

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Writing for the website Family Security Matters, conservative writer Paul Williams said “the schools reportedly are the breeding grounds for the Gülen movement in America and Fethullah Gülen’s long-range plan to create a universal caliphate.” A caliphate is the jurisdiction of Muslim leaders.

“A lot of this (criticism) is more fear than based on reality or data,” Ebaugh said.

A lot of these guys who claim ~ criticisms of such groups ~ are fear based ~ have never actually sought to verify their own claims. And that's the danger in listening to them ~ at least do a google search!!


American teachers face discrimination:

Of 19 teachers listed for Horizon-Dayton, six of the seven earning more than $35,000 in 2010 are Turkish. Turks made $38,200-$50,000, while the others, with one exception, made $26,000-$32,000.

“When you find out that people who are less qualified yet make $12,000 to $14,000 more than you, how are you supposed to feel?” said former Horizon-Dayton High School teacher Andrea Ross.

Its a supremacist movement. That wants to establish a global Islamist state ~ where Turks are in control!

Background because Turkey was once an empire and an Islamic empire ~ ideas about Turkish supremacy have a voice ~ for ex, the third largest political party, after the Islamists [leading party] and the Ataturk-ians, are the nationalists who proclaim openly [part of political platform ~ not secret] that the Turkish man is superior to all others ~ and if they were in control they would re-establish the Ottoman Empire. Turkish PM Ergodan, is making similar noises about the restoration of the Ottoman Empire ~ 'as the whole world as better back then' ~ and a large part of this is based on the supremacy of the Turk.

Further ~ to control Islam is to control the world ~ when the world comes under Islam.. [some of the thinking] There is like a competition between Iran, Saudi Arabia and the stalking horse Turkey ~ for control.

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But he said he condemned terrorism !!

Snap out of it!!


Virtually all Islamic groups are trying to create an Islamic state ~ condemning terrorism could mean that they think they can do it better via peaceful means ~ namely by convincing you to go along with their plans !!




DAYTON — A fast-growing educational movement inspired by a reclusive Islamic imam has opened charter schools throughout the country, including three Horizon Science Academies in Dayton.

The Chicago-based Concept Schools runs 19 Ohio charter schools, becoming one of the state’s largest operators of publicly funded charters. It was founded by Turkish educators inspired by a religious leader, scholar and poet Fethullah Gülen, who preaches a philosophy of nonviolence, interfaith dialogue and personal success through education in math and the sciences. The schools’ operators say they don’t push a religious agenda.

The Gülen movement has drawn praise and criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. Former President Clinton and former President Reagan’s secretary of state, James Baker, are among its supporters, lauding the movement’s success in educating kids in tough urban environments. But conservative bloggers accuse Gülen followers of trying to brainwash kids in the ways of radical Islam, and teachers union officials say the schools misuse the H-1B visa program to import Turkish teachers, bypassing qualified Americans.

“We have folks who are ... fully capable, yet Ohio tax dollars are paying salaries of people coming in on visas,” Ohio Federation of Teachers President Sue Taylor said. “There just is something terribly amiss with that picture.”

Concept Vice President Salim Ucan said a demanding curriculum, high expectations, strict discipline and longer classroom hours are parts of a recipe that has allowed some inner-city Concept schools to achieve impressive test scores and college placement rates.

One of its Cleveland schools is the only Ohio charter to earn a rating of excellent with distinction, but two of its three Dayton schools are on academic watch. The Ohio schools received more than $27 million in state funding in fiscal 2010, according to the state department of education.

Launched in 1999, Concept was the first group of educators to start a Gülen-inspired U.S. charter school, in Cleveland. Gülen’s followers generally keep a low public profile and there’s no official count of Gülen-inspired schools, but experts say there now are more than 100 schools in 20 states, typically operated by unrelated, nonprofit organizations. By one count, Ohio is second only to Texas in the number of Gülen schools.

Ucan said 90 percent of Concept’s teachers are American in the current school year. Concept’s website says that, at one time, 25 percent of its teachers were foreign but Ucan said “as the schools grew, we slowed down on hiring international teachers.”

As publicly funded schools, he noted, they are forbidden to push religion. A U.S. Department of Education official said no Gülen school in the nation has been found to violate that rule.

“You’re always going to fear what you don’t know,” said Mimi Cox, who sends her three children to Horizon academies in Dayton. “Nobody is pushing their religion on anybody.”

Ucan said it shouldn’t matter whether the schools are Gülen-inspired “as long as no one is imposing any ideas upon anyone. That’s what makes America America.”

Muslim cleric condemns terrorism

Fethullah Gülen has been described as Turkey’s most influential thinker, espousing a moderate Muslim ideology that condemns terrorism and embraces understanding between faiths.

Born in 1941, Gülen adheres to the mystical Muslim path of Sufiism, and is described by scholars as the modern link to Turkey’s Ottoman tradition. His influences include the 13th century Persian poet Rumi, whose work spawned the whirling dervishes.

Gülen is a strong believer in math, science and technology education, teaching Turkish youth they “could be modern and still be good Muslims,” said University of Houston sociology Professor Helen Rose Ebaugh, author of a 2009 book about Gülen. “His message really caught on quickly. There are schools in 121 countries.”

The university’s Gülen Institute credits the schools, which began in 1974, with making university education available to those outside Turkey’s ruling class. By 1990, movement members began founding schools and universities outside Turkey itself. Turkish Gülen followers also own a bank, a wire service, Turkey’s largest newspaper, a television network, a radio station and publishing companies.

Gülen came to the U.S. for medical treatment in 1999 and has remained here, living a reportedly spartan life at a remote Pennsylvania retreat. Turkish officials charged him in absentia with trying to establish an Islamic state in the secular nation, charges that were dropped in 2008.

U.S. Homeland Security sought to block permanent-resident status for Gülen in 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported, but he won on appeal.

He is said to be in poor health and rarely grants interviews. In his first interview with a U.S. newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, in mid-2010, Gülen said, “I do not consider myself someone who has followers.” But various estimates have placed his following at between 3 million and 8 million.

In written responses to questions from USA Today, Gülen said he doesn’t know any of the leaders of the schools inspired by his teachings and has no involvement with the schools. “If they are successful in contributing to human well-being, love, social peace and harmony, I would applaud that,” he said.

The GOP-dominated Texas State Senate in January recognized Gülen “for his ongoing and inspirational contributions to the promotion of global peace and understanding.”

Such praise hasn’t silenced criticism, with bloggers accusing the movement of being a cult-like enterprise to spread radical Islamic beliefs around the world.

Writing for the website Family Security Matters, conservative writer Paul Williams said “the schools reportedly are the breeding grounds for the Gülen movement in America and Fethullah Gülen’s long-range plan to create a universal caliphate.” A caliphate is the jurisdiction of Muslim leaders.

“A lot of this (criticism) is more fear than based on reality or data,” Ebaugh said.

D. Paul Johnson, a sociology professor at Texas Tech University, who visited Gülen schools in Turkey in 2008, said, “I see them in a positive light. They’re hoping to present an image of Muslims in America that differs from the stereotypes that have arisen since 9/11.”

Laura Leming, who chairs the University of Dayton’s sociology department, said, “People have raised the question, ‘Where is the moderate voice of Islam?’ The Gülen people would say, ‘This is the moderate voice of Islam.’ ”

High expectations but also high 
teacher turnover

In many ways, the Horizon Science Academy-Dayton High School isn’t so different than any public school. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution is on display, as are pictures of the presidents and the Iwo Jima flag-raising.

The school, which opened in 2009, also prominently displays photographs of some of the 253 students who have been accepted to college or received scholarship offers.

Scott Pearson, acting director of charter school programs for the U.S. Department of Education, said despite the academic watch ratings of two Dayton schools, Horizon often outperforms traditional public schools with comparable low-income, minority student demographics.

Ucan said the Concept schools provide about 25 percent more instructional time than traditional public schools and offer Saturday school for students who are struggling or want a more accelerated course.

High expectations of students is the key ingredient, according to Ucan.

Some students, he said, “lost that belief in themselves. Once they see people around them believing in them, they start believing in themselves, too. They’re good kids, they’re smart kids. They’re just behind academically.”

Senior Ithiyl Palmer, 18, of Dayton, who has had three scholarship offers and is interested in studying electrical engineering in college, said he likes the diverse culture and accelerated pace at Horizon. He said one drawback is that Concept’s growth has resulted in high teacher turnover, with instructors moving to other Concept schools.

Many of the 545 students in the three Dayton Horizon schools — which include two elementaries — are blacks from low-income neighborhoods, but the schools also draw a significant number of Turkish or Russian immigrants.

Allegations of discrimination

Officials of the American Federation of Teachers say Concept officials needlessly import Turkish teachers using H-1B visas, pay them more than American teachers and discriminate against Americans when making promotions.

From fiscal 2008-2010, Horizon schools in Ohio applied for 24 new H-1B visas and 15 renewals for teachers whose three-year visas had expired, according to U.S. Homeland Security.

Data from the Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank, show foreign teachers often are the most highly paid at Ohio’s Horizon Science Academies. Of 19 teachers listed for Horizon-Dayton, six of the seven earning more than $35,000 in 2010 are Turkish. Turks made $38,200-$50,000, while the others, with one exception, made $26,000-$32,000.

“When you find out that people who are less qualified yet make $12,000 to $14,000 more than you, how are you supposed to feel?” said former Horizon-Dayton High School teacher Andrea Ross.

Ucan said Concept had trouble finding American teachers who were “high quality with phenomenal content knowledge,” so they used visas to hire Turkish teachers who were recommended to them. He said Concept relies less on visas since the recession hit and expanded the pool of qualified teachers. This fall, he said, Concept will hire its first non-Turkish principal, a woman.

“I don’t care who they are or where they come from,” he said, “as long as they serve my kids.”

He said visa workers’ pay is typically higher than American workers’ because federal law requires employers to pay visa workers by prevailing wage standards.

The Labor Department investigated and dismissed allegations that Concept pressured Turkish visa teachers at a Cleveland Horizon school to return part of their pay to Concept, Ucan said. “That’s a very common fraud in this country. That’s illegal and we do not do that.”

Joshua D. Hendrick, who has studied the Gülen movement, said it relies on the support of a “very tight-knit group of deeply loyal and supportive followers who constitute the upper echelons.” He said Gülen followers’ “preference for ambiguity” when talking about their schools isn’t playing well in the United States. “It is and will likely continue to prove to be somewhat of an Achille’s heel here,” he said.

UD Professor Leming acknowledged there’s much distrust of the Gülen movement in the U.S. But she said Gülen’s philosophy isn’t so different than the teachings of Catholicism.

“This sounds pretty Marianist to me: ‘Let’s dedicate our resources to making the world a better place,’” she said.

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