Monday, December 30, 2013

Washington State Charter Applicants - No Conversions

I've been pacing myself to go through all the charter school applications.  At about 566 pages each, it's a long slog.

But I can confirm that I see none of them - submitted to the Charter Commission - that are applying to be conversion schools.  What is somewhat troubling is that one of them - Pioneer School which currently exists as a private school - didn't even seem to understand the question.  Have they read the law?  It's unclear. 

I also note the presence of several ex/current Microsoft or Gates Foundation employees in a couple of applications. 

I was also quite surprised to see former Washington State legislator, Dawn Mason, on the application coming from the Gulen group.  I note that Gulen is in the news as their supporters in Turkey are presumed to be behind the effort to overthrow that country's secular government. 

In the US, it runs one of the largest networks of charter schools – purportedly secular – with links to more than 100 schools. In Turkey, it controls a media and business empire that includes the newspaper Zaman, the country’s highest-selling daily.

Gulen followers, who were often clean-shaven, Western-educated, and English-speaking, defied the stereotypes of Islamists in Turkey during the 1990s and early 2000s, which some analysts believe allowed them to enter the judiciary and police without attracting the attention of the secularist establishment.

Leaked video footage of one of Gulen’s sermons from 1999 laid out this strategy explicitly:
“You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers,” he said. “You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power, until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey.”

It would seem prudent for our state to steer clear of any charter applicant with this kind of confusion around who leads their charter group and what their goals are and what their commitment is to U.S. public education.  


LG said...

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate that you pour through those documents so we don't have to.

Lynn said...

I'm pretty sure the Pioneer School folks haven't read the law. Their application says: Pioneer School will utilize the CoGAT Assessment for admission scores for new students. and Only students meeting the highly capable criteria will be accepted.

In contrast, the state's charter school law says: A charter school may not limit admission on any basis other than age group, grade level, or capacity and must enroll all students who apply within these bases.

Staying Put. said...

I read one application and I find the content totally meaningless....just a bunch of edu-babble.

Furthermore, I looked at charter board members and wasn't impressed with their credentials.

Disgusted said...


Please share information regarding Gulan group. I know the Gulan group changes names- a lot.

Sarah said...


I would also like to thank you for taking on the role of watch dog.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Gulen application is for a school called Coral Academy of Science.

Anonymous said...

An interesting Coral story from 2006:

The school tried to block a student from reciting an Auden poem at an NEA-sponsored poetry competition. He had to file a restraining order against them to protect his First Amendment rights.


Anonymous said...

Active link: