Here is the website of the Harmony / Cosmos Foundation school in Texas
Harmony Science Academy a Gulen Charter School
Harmony Science Academy in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico are under the Cosmos Foundation. The Cosmos Foundation ran by Turkish Nationals who are known members of the Gulen Movement have abused many state and federal laws. Cosmos is the largest abuser of H1-B Visas for foreign teachers than the largest school district in America. Scratch your head and wonder why the Gulen Movement is getting away with reverse discrimination? Texas money crosses over state lines to support the other Gulen Managed charter schools, this is WRONG!! DISCLAIMER: If you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship which has filed bogus copyright infringement rights to UTUBE
Friday, August 26, 2011
Here is the website of the Harmony / Cosmos Foundation school in Texas
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
|Ifran Turk, now leads Laredo campus|
Low-scoring students told to leave
Parents allege that Harmony Science Academy, deemed "exemplary" by the state, pushed their children out because of low performance. Superintendent Soner Tarim and Principal Irfan Turk deny the allegations.
By Michelle De La Rosa
Friday, September 4, 2009
Page 1 of 1
Joe Garcia knew his son was struggling with math but never imagined the problem would lead to his being forced to withdraw from a local charter school.
Garcia and another parent allege that Harmony Science Academy, deemed "exemplary" by the state, pushed their children out because of low performance.
"They tell us, 'You need to come withdraw your son because he didn't pass the TAKS test," Garcia said, recalling a call from an office receptionist last summer.
Superintendent Soner Tarim and Principal Irfan Turk deny the allegations. Turk has since been reassigned.
"We train our principals all the time," Tarim said. "They have to provide service to all of our students and parents."
Texas open-enrollment charter schools are tuition-free, public schools afforded some leeway not given to traditional public schools. But no public school can drop from their rolls students who fail the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Suzanne Marchman said.
Harmony Science Academy schools - there are 25 in Texas - have a solid academic record. Virtually all the 19 campuses rated last year received "exemplary" or "recognized" ratings, the state's top two ratings. The school, which opened in 2006, concentrates on math, science and technology.
The learning environment is atypical of charter schools, which do not receive state money for facilities. It has two cafeterias, a gymnasium and computer lab. Lockers line spacious halls and visitors are welcomed by stone tile and high-backed sofas.
"The building, the environment - that is the proof of how much we value education," said Zekeriya Yuksel, an area superintendent who has an office on campus.
Garcia and Darlene Lerma, the other parent who says she was forced to withdraw her daughter, praised Harmony's environment and academic record.
Their primary issue with the school was the phone calls they received last summer.
Garcia's son failed the sixth grade TAKS math. Under school policy, students in grades sixth through eighth must pass TAKS to be promoted. Yuksel said the school administered another test to Garcia's son to determine whether he would be promoted. He failed that test, too.
Shortly after, Garcia said he received the call, not from the principal, but from a front-office receptionist.
Lerma said she received a similar call around the same time, after her daughter failed the eighth-grade TAKS the third time.
"I was like, 'No, what are you talking about?" Lerma said. "I said, 'I want to talk to the principal. There's no way. I'm not withdrawing her.'"
Both parents said Turk would not meet with them initially to discuss the issue and that they withdrew their students at the time because they didn't know what else to do.
Garcia called TEA, prompting state officials to look into the matter. Tarim assured the agency he would investigate and call all students who had failed TAKS and were no longer enrolled at the school to invite them back, TEA's Marchman said.
Turk now runs the Laredo campus, but Tarim said Friday his new assignment was unrelated to the incident.
Harmony officials say it would be unfortunate if complaints from two parents tarnished the school's good reputation. The school has about 785 students and many happy parents, they say.
Adrian Lujan is one of them. He praised the workers and teachers' dedication, noting that they sometimes visit his home to tutor his children.
"I can't afford private school because I'm in the military," said Lujan, who has two children at the school. "That's the closest thing they can come to it."
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/education/article/Low-scoring-students-told-to-leave-844385.php#ixzz1VAho8CiS
Abramson charter group's ties to Gulen movement come to surface
Published: Friday, July 22, 2011, 10:19 PM Updated: Friday, July 22, 2011, 10:21 PM
By Andrew Vanacore, The Times-Picayune NOLA.com
Karen Fontenot rose to address the room last year at a conference on the Gulen movement, a strain of Islamic thinking inspired by the Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen. She recounted how she got involved in the movement back in 2005 and made reference to her role as a board member for a group of charter schools associated with it.
"I'm on the advisory board of the schools -- the Gulen schools in Louisiana," she explained.
Indeed, Fontenot is vice president of the board at the Pelican Educational Foundation, a nonprofit group that runs Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in eastern New Orleans and Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge. Pelican is now under investigation by the Louisiana Department of Education because of numerous complaints from students and teachers at Abramson, as well as an alleged attempt by someone associated with the group to bribe a state official last year.
Pelican's CEO, Tevfik Eski, has denied any connection between Gulen and the foundation's schools.
But the links that Pelican shares with the Gulen movement, as well as Turkish-run businesses and charter schools in other states, are at least partially out in the open, in video clips and documents available on the Internet as well as records made public by the state.
No evidence has surfaced to suggest that Abramson or Kenilworth have ever pushed a religious doctrine in the classroom. But the connection to Gulen offers one more clue as to why an executive from a Texas contractor would have turned up on Abramson's campus last year, and why she would have allegedly offered a state official a $25,000 bribe.
Ties to Louisiana
The executive, Inci Akpinar, from Atlas Texas Construction and Trading, was named in a 2010 memo written by Folwell Dunbar, who served as the state's academic adviser for charter schools until being fired this week. In his note, Dunbar described an unexpected meeting during a visit to Abramson with representatives from Atlas and a Houston-based charter school operator called the Cosmos Foundation, another group with links to the Gulen movement.
Dunbar was visiting the school to check out allegations made by a group of whistle-blowing teachers. He wrote that during a one-on-one meeting at a Starbucks the next day, Akpinar offered "twenty-five thousand dollars to fix this problem: twenty thousand for you and five for me."
Atlas has not returned several messages seeking comment on the allegation. Pelican has denied the bribery attempt and disavowed any association with Atlas.
But the company's contracting history in Texas and other states points back to Louisiana. Atlas has done numerous jobs in the past for the Cosmos Foundation, which in turn has a support contract with Abramson, receiving a fee set at 5 percent of the school's state financing.
And among the projects that Atlas touts on its website is the gymnasium at a school called the Dove Science Academy in Oklahoma. That school was led by Mustafa Guvercin in 2005 and 2006, before he moved on to become the principal at Abramson when it opened in 2007, according to a copy of his resume.
Cable describes tension
Atlas is also described as affiliated with Gulen in a classified State Department cable from an American diplomat in Istanbul, which was published online by the anti-secrecy group Wikileaks. The connection between Atlas and Gulen was first reported by The New York Times.
The cable, written by former Consul General Deborah K. Jones in 2006, describes the often tense relationship Fethullah Gulen has had with the Turkish government and his wide-ranging influence. It describes a "vast and growing network encompassing more than 160 affiliated organizations in over 30 countries, including over 50 in the U.S."
Gulen himself is now in his 70s and has lived in the United States since 1999. Though Gulen has denied any claim as a leader, members of the movement he has inspired have made it one of their priorities to start and finance "predominantly secular schools and other educational-related services," Jones noted.
"Nonetheless," she wrote, "Gulen has come under Turkish government scrutiny at various times in his life, though this month an Ankara court acquitted him of seeking to overthrow Turkey's secular state."
Fontenot, the Pelican board member, appears in a video clip posted to the website of a 2010 conference titled, "Mapping the Gulen Movement."
A professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, Fontenot describes becoming involved with the movement in 2005, when she presented a paper titled "M. Fetullah Gulen's Neo-Sufism" during a conference at Rice University in Houston. The presentation is listed in a copy of her curriculum vitae that was attached to Abramson's charter application in Louisiana.
Though Fontenot did not respond to a request for an interview on Gulen, she explained in the clip, "I'm not a Muslim and I'm not a Turk, but I believe I'm a member of the Hizmet movement," using a Turkish word for public service, a principal that stands at the center of Gulen's teachings.
No religious complaints
None of the teachers who have logged complaints against Abramson in New Orleans have reported any type of religious cast to the instruction at the school. The accusations have centered on alleged cheating in science fair competitions, a shortage of services for special needs students and other problems.
But several have described administrators offering school-sponsored trips to Turkey for both teachers and students. One teacher who took up the offer received pamphlets on the Gulen movement, which outline Gulen's biography and stress his peaceful message, taking pains to distance the movement from any type of hard-line or violent Muslim sect.
Gulen is quoted responding to the Sept. 11 attacks, "I would like to stress that any terrorist activity, no matter who does it and for what purpose, is the greatest blow to peace and democracy and humanity."
Does FBI investigation of Gülen include Louisiana RSD?
August 12, 2011 by tomaswellBATON ROUGE (CNS)—There is a common thread that links the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD), former RSD Superintendent Paul Vallas, RSD-North Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield, Ph.D., and the Fethullah Gülen network of 155 charter schools scattered throughout 28 states, including at least two in Louisiana.
That common thread is the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sheffield, who headed the RSD-North from June 2009 to July 2010, was brought to Baton Rouge by Vallas at a salary of $200,000. She previously worked under Vallas as Chief Accountability Officer for the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) from June of 2004 to July 2008.
She was an unsuccessful candidate for the position of superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish schools in January of 2009 and was hired as superintendent of the Rockford, Illinois, Public School District later in 2009. She resigned in April of this year halfway through her contract.
While working for Vallas in Philadelphia, an audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) determined that nearly $138.4 million in grant funds were either unallowable or inadequately documented. The audit also determined that SDP should return almost $17.7 million in unallowable costs to DOE.
Before that, Sheffield was employed as Chief Academic Officer for the Detroit Public School System from February 2002 to July 2003. While there, she ran up thousands of dollars of charges to her district-issued charge card while on her wedding trip to Las Vegas, records show.
She also worked from December 1993 to May 2000 as Chief of Staff to Cleveland Mayor Michael White and also served as Director of the Department of Port Control and as manager of the $1.4 billion Cleveland Hopkins International Airport expansion project. While there, both she and White were implicated but never charged in an FBI investigation into widespread bribery in the city administration, including the port and airport project.
Both she and Vallas have departed the Louisiana RSD, but the presence of the FBI lingers.
Reports indicate the agency has initiated an investigation into the RSD, most likely stemming from recent revelations about the Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in New Orleans and the Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge.
Both schools were operated by Pelican Education Foundation in New Orleans until Abramson’s charter was revoked last month. Pelican is affiliated with Atlas Texas Construction and Trading of Houston. Atlas also operates 38 charter schools in several Texas cities through Cosmos Foundation under the auspices of Harmony Public Schools.
Atlas and Cosmos are all linked to Fethullah Gülen and his network of schools that operate under such innocuous names as Magnolia, Sweetwater, Pioneer, Horizon, Noble, Dove, Bluebonnet, Beehive, Truebright, and, of course, Pelican and Harmony.
The federal investigation, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, does not involve links to terrorism, but centers on charges that the organization uses taxpayer money to bring teachers to this country from Turkey and other countries who are members of the religious group and then requires the teachers to kick back up to 60 percent of their salaries to Gülen’s Hizmet movement.
The Gülen-run schools receive taxpayer funding and also receive private financial support, much of it from the Walton Family, owners of Wal-Mart. The Walton Family Foundation, for example, provided $230,000 in funding for Abramson as recently as 2007.
Gülen, who was forced to flee his native Turkey in 1998 after being charged with attempting to overthrow the secular Turkish government, now resides in a mountain fortress in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
He was granted a permanent residency visa as an “alien of extraordinary ability” and as “a leader of award-winning schools for underserved children around the world,” according to his attorneys, even though he does not hold a high school diploma. Now, however, in an effort to ward off investigations, he claims that neither he nor his movement have an affiliation with the charter schools.
The investigations of Gülen and his organization, which federal officials have refused to confirm or deny, are being coordinated by prosecutors in Pennsylvania’s Middle district in Scranton, and involve hundreds of Gülen charter school members nationwide.
Ostensibly, that would include the two Pelican-run schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Gulen Charter Schools - Louisana Schools, closed to Pelican Educational Foundation (Cosmos Foundation)
NEWS IN LOUISANA, TEACHERS TESTIFY AGAINST ABRAMSON
ACTUAL REPORT TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Pelican Educational Foundation aka Cosmos Foundation DENIED a restraining order barring the SBOE from ousting them from Abramson Science and Technology.
BESE votes to rescind charter for Abramson Science and Technology School
Published: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 8:00 AM
By Andrew Vanacore, The Times-Picayune NOLA.com
The state board of education voted Wednesday to revoke its contract with Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in eastern New Orleans, a step that will mean new management for the school and a potential legal battle with the nonprofit group that has run the campus until now.
The Pelican Educational Foundation, which founded the charter school in 2007, lost its right to operate the school by a 6-1 vote at the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, after a marathon six-hour meeting.
That doesn't mean the school won't open for the new academic year as scheduled next week. The state-run Recovery School District plans to take over management of the school and hold on to as many of the staff members as possible.
Attorneys for Pelican have already said they plan to challenge BESE's decision in court, arguing they were not given a fair chance to make their case.
But BESE decided to vote with the recommendation of acting State Superintendent Ollie Tyler, who told the board that early findings of a state investigation launched last month showed "a threat to the safety, health and welfare of students at Abramson."
Tyler ordered the investigation July 14 after questions surfaced about the school's handling of an alleged sexual encounter between two kindergarten students in a school bathroom this spring. A few days later, the state raised another case, this one a rape allegation involving another student.
The case added to concerns raised by a group of teachers who contacted the state department of education more than a year ago over allegations of cheating on science fair competitions, a lack of resources for special needs students and other issues, all of which the school has vehemently denied. On top of that, one of the state officials looking into the initial claims last year wrote to colleagues about an attempt by someone associated with the school to offer him a bribe, an incident the school also says never happened.
In her recommendation to the board Wednesday, Tyler cited evidence that Abramson administrators had failed to properly follow up on several alleged sexual incidents between students on the school's campus, while Pelican and its attorneys argued that school officials "did everything appropriately and by the book."
Dozens of parents and other supporters of the school piled into the board's meeting Wednesday, sporting red Abramson shirts and giving loud applause for speakers who took the microphone to defend the school during a public comment period.
Tensions over oversight
The meeting also brought out some of the political dimensions of the case. Since shortly after Hurricane Katrina, when the RSD took over a majority of New Orleans schools, the city has been heading toward a system made up almost entirely of charters, which enjoy greater independence from the state than traditional schools. The district, including Abramson, has seen steady gains, improving test scores, attendance and dropout rates at a faster pace than the rest of the state.
But some of the more vocal critics of the schools makeover have used the Abramson case to point out what they say are broader deficiencies in the way BESE and the department of education handles oversight.
"This is an issue of accountability and consistency and due process," said Cynthia Willard Lewis, a Democratic state senator who represents eastern New Orleans. "There has been a tremendous failure that is shared by the RSD for its lack of policy protocol and monitoring."
Linda Johnson, a BESE member from Plaquemine and part of a minority wing on the board that has been more skeptical of the RSD's reform efforts, offered a motion Wednesday asking the state for a more detailed outline of who is responsible for keeping an eye on charters. That motion passed.
A joint memo from the department of education and the RSD released earlier this week outlined a reorganization that's already under way. RSD Superintendent John White, who took over in May, explained that the new setup will put more oversight responsibility on RSD personnel, who are closer to the ground than staffers based in Baton Rouge.
White and the RSD are now in a position of having to open Abramson on relatively short notice. District officials have said they plan to bring in a new set of principals for the K-12 school.
'Smooth school opening'
In a letter that went out Wednesday evening, White invited parents and guardians to orientation meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week in Abramson's cafeteria.
"We are committed to ensuring a smooth school opening for your child," White said in the letter, assuring parents that the school's curriculum won't change, bus service will continue and staff will be hired back.
At Wednesday's meeting, a number of parents spoke to defend Pelican's management of the school. "Abramson was a terrible school" before Katrina and the reform movement that followed, argued Robert Robertson. "The school is safe, and the students are getting a quality education."
However, one parent, the mother of one of the students involved in an alleged sexual incident raised by the state, urged the board to revoke Pelican's contract.
The parent, whose name is not being published by The Times-Picayune to avoid identifying her child publicly, said she was not informed the first time her 5-year-old was caught in what appeared to the child's teacher to be a sexual encounter with another student.
"I am here today because I want to share my experience with you," she said, stifling sobs, "so the Pelican Educational Foundation is prevented from operating any school."
Pelican's attorneys have argued the school investigated the incident and found no evidence it involved any improper sexual advance, though they acknowledged that a second incident occurred among the same students that was in fact sexually inappropriate.
BESE President Penny Dastugue, who voted to revoke Pelican's charter, ultimately agreed with the state department of education in seeing a pattern at the school of mishandling such cases.
"There were multiple instances of what I thought were failures to investigate and provide proper supervision," Dastugue said. "There was in my mind ample evidence that there were very severe safety, health and welfare issues."
The only dissenting vote came from Louella Givens, who represents New Orleans. Givens said comments from the parents Wednesday's meeting convinced her that the school should be given a chance to shape up.
Pelican will be asking a judge in state district court in East Baton Rouge to see it that way also. Not only is the group arguing that Abramson is a better school that has been portrayed, it is asking a judge to reverse BESE's decision as an "illegal" act.
Ben Slater, a lawyer with Lemle & Kelleher, said after the meeting that Pelican hasn't decided whether to go back to court and ask a judge to move up a hearing that's already been scheduled for next Thursday, a day after the school year is set to begin.