Since early this year, when I was researching my stories on Sonoran Science Academy and the Gülen movement, I've been curious about the Accord Institute.
The Accord Institute for Education Research says on its website that it "develops an education model for math, science and technology oriented K-12 schools through research on existing education practices, and testing innovative approaches, and provides consulting and training services."
This summer, through a public records request, I've learned how much money the Daisy Education Corp. schools paid to Accord. Over the last two school years, four Daisy schools have paid a total of $364,103 to Accord. One of those schools, Sonoran Science Academy-Tucson, paid the bulk of that amount, $156,060.
People are also reading…
The reason for my curiosity is that my earlier research suggested Accord is not simply a curriculum provider, as the contracts with Accord say, but a regional hub that oversees all the Turkish-run charter schools in the West. This week, I've found out that, indeed, the schools buy regular curricular products from other providers, such as Harcourt and Saxon.
I am trying to establish contact with Accord officials but have not succeeded yet.
The growing ranks of critics of the so-called "Gulen-Inspired Schools" point to Accord as a regional hub like Concept Schools in Chicago and Cosmos Foundation in Houston. One blogger pointed out that Accord has the exact same four precepts as the Pinnacle School Model in Washington D.C.
Among the 12 services listed in Accord's contract with the Daisy Education schools:
• Technology Integrated Education curriculum and lesson plans.
• Character Education Program for teachers of this subject.
• Accord College Planning Guide, a printed guide for students.
• Home Visit Teacher Guide, apparently a plan for school employees conducting home visits.
• Teacher evaluation — observations and online evaluations made at least once every year.
Are these and the other programs worth $160 per student per year, the amount Accord charges? Are there unwritten obligations that come with affiliating with Accord? Can the Turkish-run charter schools opt out if they wish? These are some of the questions I'm pondering.