HALL OF SHAME AWARD TO GULEN CHARTER SCHOOLS.
Pelican Education dba Cosmos Foundation dba Abramson Science and Technology
The Gulen Charter Schools in Louisana
|Folwell Dunbar, an Honest American Politiican (we need more of this)|
|Mary Elise DeCoursey, a BRAVE American teacher|
| Mayor Berry invited ASE 8th grade students to be involved in the blueprint planing for Albuquerque for the next 25 years.|
Thank you Mayor Berry for hosting us.
NOW GETTING INTO THE ARTERIES OF THE SYSTEM AS THEIR HOCAEFENDI HAS INSTRUCTED THEM
The Turkey Trip
N.M., Turkey get tight as lawmakers get gratis visits
By Steve Terrell | The New Mexican
Some Roundhouse regulars' heads were turned in January when they saw the flag of Turkey flying above the Capitol in place of the New Mexico flag. Bloggers Notes: The Flag of Turkey is actually the Islamic Symbol, you silly stupid Americans have no clue do you?
I jokingly suggested in my blog that the state was trying to fix the state budget problem by renting out our flagpoles to other countries. But the truth is that seven Turkish congressmen were in town to meet with the governor, legislators and other state officials.
Turks seemed to be everywhere during the session. During the past two sessions, there have been "Turkish-New Mexican Friendship Receptions" in Santa Fe with host committees that included several state officers and legislators.
And in recent months, the Turkish-New Mexico connection has grown stronger. State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, who recently got back from a 10-day Turkish trip with several New Mexico journalists, said Wednesday that he's just one of several legislators who have traveled to Turkey courtesy of a private group.
Sens. Dede Feldman and Cisco McSorley, both Albuquerque Democrats, are currently in Turkey, Ortiz y Pino said. And another Albuquerque Democrat, state Sen. Eric Griego, even took time off of his campaign for Congress to make the trip.
Earlier this year, another group of lawmakers including Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, went, he said. And last fall, Ortiz y Pino said he made his first trip there along with Senate President pro-tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, and others.
Raul Burciaga, executive director of the Legislative Council Service, confirmed Wednesday that the state isn't paying for any of the Turkish trips. Legislative leaders in recent weeks have been talking about cutting back on out-of-state travel because of the budget crunch.
So who is paying? The cost of the travel isn't readily available. Because the state isn't paying for it, lawmakers don't have to file travel vouchers or other records with the state, Burciaga said.
The group that instigated the Turkish trips is the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, which on its website describes itself as "a leading independent and an umbrella organization committed to advancing the interaction among American and Turkish, Turkic and Eurasian people to promote and encourage continuing good relationship and understanding through its affiliate organizations regardless of their ethnic origin, religion and other preferences."
The council "brings people together by hosting public programs and private events featuring leaders and experts with diverse views on a wide range of global and regional topics through task forces, executive forums, luncheons, conferences, studies and leadership dialogue."
Phone calls to the Houston-based group weren't returned Wednesday.
The group plans to build a Turkish cultural center in Albuquerque, which would be affiliated with the Raindrop Turkish House in Houston. The Turkish community in New Mexico is relatively small — only about 500 people, according to information on the council's website.
"They approached us about a couple of years ago about sending trade delegations," Jennings said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "A lot of people think that everyone in the Middle East hates America. They wanted to show us that's not true." He said he learned that Muslims, Christians and Jews live together in Turkey without strife.
Jennings said he and other legislators were allowed to go wherever they wanted in Turkey. "It wasn't like the government only allowed us to see what they wanted us to see."
Ortiz y Pino said the main motivation for the Turks wooing American legislators and journalists is that Turkey is trying hard to join the European Union. But the senator said a Turkish journalist told him even if Turkey doesn't get accepted in the EU, the effort has been worth it because of the reforms undertaken by his nation in seeking membership.
Ortiz y Pino said there's a lot to be learned from Turkey. "It's the world's third-fastest-growing economy," he said.
So if you begin noticing an influx of Turkish coffee, tobacco and bathhouses into New Mexico — and if Istanbul suddenly develops a hunger for green chile and tortillas — you'll know why.
Contact Steve Terrell at 986-3037 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his political blog at roundhouseroundup.com.
Who are these NM State Legislature that took the FREEBIE trip to Turkey? They are not without controversy, surely they have all accepted the famous campaign contributions from the Gulen ran front groups. $$$$$$
Ousted Rio Arriba County magistrate Tom Rodella is causing a new set of problems for Big Bill. The husband of Dem State Rep Debbie Rodella claims the Guv knew his background was checkered with all kinds of wrongdoing when he appointed him to the bench in March. Rodella embarrased the Guv when he was recently forced to resign because of his checkered past. The story was breaking fast Wednesday night in the Espanola's Rio Grande Sun. Here's an excerpt.
"Gov. Richardson knew about the problems in Thomas Rodella's past when Richardson appointed the former State Police officer to be a judge March 31, Rodella said Tuesday, flatly contradicting numerous statements from Richardson's office. "I answered all the Governor's questions as pertained to the investigations in my State Police career," Rodella said. "I answered them truthfully. He did know."
A former wife filed a suit against Rodella in the 1980s, accusing him of repeated violent abuse. After he married his current wife, now a state representative, Rodella was repeatedly investigated by State Police for a variety of infractions, including ticket-fixing. Richardson knew about it all, Rodella said, and knew about it before Rodella ever applied to be a Rio Arriba magistrate." Reports the Sun.
Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, nothing much here
Senator Cisco McSorley, says "NO" TO UNM Golf Course redevelopment, but 'YES' To medical marijuana and 'YES" To FREE Trip to Turkey.
MORE ABOUT THE NEW COSMOS FOUNDATION SCHOOL IN ALBUQUERQUE
Ahmet Cetinkaya was a teacher in Turkey and then Texas before heading the new Albuquerque School of Excellence, a charter that is one of a growing number of Turkishrun schools around the country.
The Albuquerque School of Excellence, which opened this year in an old grocery store near Tramway and Lomas, uses curriculum, training and other resources from Harmony Schools, a chain of Texas charter schools where Cetinkaya taught. The school serves students in grades 1-8, with a focus on math and science. Harmony Schools, with a reputation for high test scores and graduation rates, are run almost exclusively by Turkish-Americans. Although the schools have caught the attention of journalists and parent groups, educators caution against thinking of
them as a united network, since they belong to different chains with no connection. Harmony Schools in Texas, for example, has no formal connection to the Sonoran schools in Arizona. Both are Turkish-run charter systems.
"I'm not sure I'd call it a movement," said Nelson Smith, senior adviser and former head of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "There are several states where there are a number of schools that are Turk-led. If I could characterize them as a group, they seem to be high-performing and well-run, with a math and science flavor."
The School of Excellence aims to fit that mold. Cetinkaya leads tours of the school with pride, showing off the building, which has been brightly painted and remodeled to accommodate the 220 students enrolled this year.
Parent Marianne Hund said she researched the school before enrolling her two sons. She is excited so far about the education they are getting, and said the success of Harmony schools in Texas gave her confidence in the new school.
"They don't have to reinvent the wheel; they're going off something that has been invented and tested, and that meant a lot to us as parents," she said.
Hund belongs to a small co-op of School of Excellence
parents who commute from the East Mountains, and she said the parents and students in that group are happy with the school staff and want their students exposed to people from other countries. Still, Cetinkaya said he has fielded questions from parents concerned about the school's ties to Turkey, and about Internet-fueled rumors that the schools are connected to Fethullah Gulen, a prominent, controversial Turkish thinker who has pushed for more dialogue between the Western and Muslim worlds.
No concrete links between Turkish-American charter schools and Gulen have been documented, and Cetinkaya said his school has no links to Islam or Gulen's philosophy. He acknowledged, though, that most Turkish educators have read Gulen's books and may be influenced by his thinking. Gulen is controversial in Turkey, but is widely known as a Muslim thinker who condemns terrorism and promotes tolerance.
"Gulen is really wellknown in Turkey. He has many books and is on TV," Cetinkaya said. "Most people have probably read his books."
Hund described herself as a devout Christian, and said even if staff are inspired by a Muslim thinker, that isn't a problem for her. "I think you have to look for real experience with real people and then make your own assessments," she said. "My experience with the people running the Albuquerque School of Excellence is that they bring grace, patience, creativity and respect for all people to the table."
Cetinkaya came to the United States on a work visa provided by the Cosmos Foundation, a nonprofit that supports Harmony Schools. He initially came to Albuquerque in April to help recruit for the School of Excellence, and stayed on as principal when Harmony officials asked him to do so (and when he got a taste of the weather). Cetinkaya is relaxed but firm in debunking rumors that have sometimes surrounded Harmony schools. He said his school offers both Turkish and Spanish language classes, but in no
way pushes Islam or any other aspects of Turkish culture. On his staff of 19, three are Turkish, including Cetinkaya. He said especially in the early stages of a new school, he makes it a point to keep the school's doors open and allow parents to visit at all times. Transparency is necessary, he said, to dispel parent fears. "Being a Turkish-American BLOGGER NOTE: Cetinkaya is not American and merely has a work visa and starting a new school, it's a question parents have," he said. Part of the school's central philosophy is encouraging participation in academic competition, including robotics contests and geography bees. In robotics class, the theme for this year's national contest is medical technology. Students are charged with building and programming robots that can simulate sophisticated tasks like placing a cast on a limb or applying just the right pressure to a nerve. Tyler Collins, an eighthgrader at the school, eagerly shows off the tasks the team will need to complete and the progress they've made so far. Collins, 13, hopes to become an engineer and is excited about the robotics competition. "I've been wanting to mess with robots," he said. "This is a good time to start my engineering."
Albuquerque School of Excellence Charter Application
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS CHARTER SCHOOL PUBLIC INPUT HEARING OF SONER TARIM, ET AL (SONER SURE GETS AROUND)
And Texas citizens thought they were so special to be home of Gulen Charter Schools...
|Harmony Science Academy, OOpsie! Now Soner Tarim, Cosmos Foundation et al want to re package the Harmony Science Academies as HARMONY PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Good Luck with that strategy.|
Charter Schools, Public Risk, Political Gain and the Gulen Harmony Science Academies.
Stunning, jaw dropping hypocrisy! The conservative Republican Texas legislature, in Senate Bill 1, passed in June, will guarantee the bonds sold by the private owners of charter schools. Privately owned charter schools, for example, Harmony Charter Schools, will be authorized by the state of Texas to sell bonds to construct new school buildings. The state will guarantee them by giving charter schools access to the Permanent School Fund. Isn’t this the Wall Street model …. privatize the profits and socialize the loses. Newly minted AAA rated financial instruments will be bundled to hedge fund managers and other “investors.” Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be made by bond rating agencies and financial institutions that put these bond offerings together.
Remember the rating firms that provided AAA ratings, paid for by Wall Street, for worthless mortgage backed securities. The Texas taxpayer will now be on the hook for this private sector school financing scheme. The relevant section of SB 1 states, “Senate Bill 1. Sec. 45.052. GUARANTEE. (a) On approval by the commissioner, bonds issued under Subchapter A by a school district or Chapter 53 for a charter district, including refunding bonds, are guaranteed by the corpus and income of the Permanent School Fund. There is more. Harmony Charter Schools is the largest charter school chain in the state boasting of 36 schools. Don’t let them tell you charter schools are public schools, they are not. Public schools don’t have the luxury of “encouraging” a child to leave because they might jeopardize the school’s test scores. Charter schools game the system by inflating their successes through a process called “dumping”. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) acknowledges that Charter schools “dump” low performing students and students with special needs. They push these students out of their school. Dr. Ed Fuller has been quoted saying, “It’s not hard to be ‘exemplary’ if you lose all the kids who aren’t performing”. Harmony schools “lose” an extraordinarily high number, about 50 percent, of their students in grades 6 through 8 according to Fuller, a University of Texas-Austin researcher. Charter schools do not out perform our public schools. They create havoc. Charter schools that have closed still owe the state 21 million dollars because they exaggerated their enrollment numbers. Besides their “dumping” policies, Harmony Charter schools have been associated with the Gulan Islamic movement. Harmony does not teach Islam in the schools, but their Gulan associations are undeniable according to University of Oregon’s Joshua Hendrick, Ph.D. His research extensively studied the Gulanists and their worldwide operations.
Under the radar of the American public, the Gulan Islamic movement has been quietly advancing its presence in the United States through the establishment of charter schools by their acolytes. Texas politicians are well aware of this movement. Gulanists continue to build their political cover by targeting, influencing, and giving gifts and trips to Turkey to our politicians. Fethullah Gulan, left Turkey under threat by the Turkish government for his attempts to establish an Islamic government and some consider him the contemporary Islamic version of American evangelist Billy Graham. The Gulan movement goes beyond charter schools. Their public relations strategy incorporates the establishment of “cultural centers” and “interfaith dialog” centers. They are extremely well funded and politically connected. Cosmos Foundation, Inc., owners of Harmony Schools hired Jennifer Sarver, of BursonMarsteller, one of the world’s largest public relation firms. Karen Hughes is Global Vice-Chair of BursonMarsteller. This is a very expensive and high powered public relation effort. Followers of the Gulan Movement operate banks, educational institutions, media, and business networks in more than 100 countries around the world.
The Cosmos Foundation, Inc. which operates the Harmony schools filed for 1,157 visas applications (H1-Bs) since 2001. It has brought 731 administrators and teachers from Turkey using H1-Bs surpassing all other secondary education providers nationwide. Immigration of teachers from Turkey under the H1B visa program is allowed if a qualified American teacher cannot be found. Questions abound regarding the qualifications of these Turkish teachers as well as Harmony’s sincerity in attracting and hiring qualified American teachers. All the principals of Harmony schools just happen to be Turkish men. Contracting, maintenance, and a plethora of vendor contracts (food service, uniforms, books, furniture, etc.) which by law should go to the lowest bidder are in question. It has been reported that local Texas businesses have been shut out and bids awarded to Turkish owned firms. Large capital improvements and new building construction projects will be financed by Harmony bond initiatives, awarded to Turkish construction firms, and insured by the state, meaning … you. These contracts represent tens of millions of dollars.
Here’s the right wing Republican plan: Put the public school system under relentless attack for political, ideological, and financial gain. Selectively target public schools in the inner cities where poverty is the norm and low performance is a problem and portray every public school in the same light. You know the propaganda is coming when they start talking about “government run schools”, “competition”, “choice”, and “21st century skills”. A recent New York Times article by the conservative David Brooks uses the language of the propagandist when he speaks of the school “reform movement” or the “reformers”…. a detestable perversion of the English language in the context that they use it. These right wing extremists corrupt the language; undermine our traditional public schools for profit and political advantage.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be”. Texas state government has seen to it that we rank almost at the bottom of the nation in public school funding (48th). Our public school teachers, staff, and administrators deserve better by virtue of their performance and the indispensible value they add to our community. Let me be clear. I am not in any way against privately funded faith based schools. However, Harmony Charter Schools and other charters, funded by taxpayer’s dollars, by their own doing, have raised serious questions about their practices at many levels not the least of which is the promotion of a particular religion and culture directly or indirectly. Finally, the Texas taxpayer should not bear the risk associated with the creation and issuance financial instruments for the private sector…. never, never, never.
Michael Hight is a retired pharmaceutical executive. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in microbiology, with graduate studies in political science and additional courses in business management abroad. He can be reached at mich...@sbcglobal.net.