Centre County Charter School Linked To Controversial International Allegations
Recent News Reports Question Operations Of Group Connected To State College Charter School
A report published by the Philadelphia Inquirer linked the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania in State College to a network of more than 120 charter schools in the U.S. connected to Turkish preacher and Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen is living in self-imposed exile in a remote section of the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
Several reports claim that followers of Gulen have opened the network of charter schools across the U.S., and that federal authorities are investigating claims that school workers are donating portions of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen.
Former Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Parent Group President Ruth Hocker told WJAC-TV that she started filing freedom of information requests when local teachers were replaced by Turkish teachers and school administrators wouldn't explain the changes or verify teacher certification.
"We liked that they were multicultural, but any group that is favoring certain people over other people; favoring less-qualified people based on their race, that's when it's of concern," said Hocker.
Hocker said four of her children attended Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania; one graduated elementary school and three were eventually pulled from the classroom.
"We would say, 'Why are you hiring teachers who aren't certified?' and they would respond with, 'We can't find anyone local and certified who is qualified.' We would respond with, 'Penn State is right around the corner,; how can you not find someone certified and qualified in this town.' It doesn't even make sense," said Hocker. "We weren't concerned about their safety, but we certainly are concerned about the secrecy and where the money is being spent."
State College Area School District officials said that the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania charter was renewed last July.
Calls requesting comment to the FBI, Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania have not yet been returned.