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Sr. Reporter: National paper explores Gülen, charter-school links

Sr. Reporter: National paper explores Gülen, charter-school links

  • Updated

A long-rumored story has come out in USA Today, taking a broad look at the phenomenon of Turkish-run charter schools across the country.

The story focuses on the schools' possible links to the Gülen Movement, which was also a main theme of the stories I wrote in April.

The USA Today story didn't break a lot of new ground, but here are some highlights I noted:

Harmony Science Academy, the large network of Turkish-run charter schools in Texas, has brought in 731 employees on H-1B visas since 2001.

• Harmony schools had an "extraordinarily high" attrition rate of about 50 percent for students in 6th through 8th grade, a phenomenon that some point to as evidence of pushing out lower-performing students.

• The story quotes Mehmet Argin as principal of Sonoran Science Academy (last I knew, Fatih Karatas was principal there, but anyway...). He told the writer, Greg Toppo, by email that Daisy Education Corp., Sonoran's parent company, "has no legal or organic ties"  to other schools. I was surprised to hear him use the "organic" phrase because that is one that members of the Gulen movement traditionally use to dispel links among their groups.

• Gülen submitted to a short Q & A. It won't surprise you to know that he denied having any connection to the schools or that there is such a thing as a Gülen Movement, (although he or his followers apparently own that domain name).

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