Sharon R. Higgins is a parent activist in Oakland, California, who manages multiple websites as a concerned citizen. One is “charter school scandals.” Another is the Broad Report. Third is a compilation of articles about the Gulen movement.
Sharon has long wondered why so many districts, states, and the federal government have turned over a basic public responsibility to foreign nationals, who hire other foreign nationals, and export hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. Her concern is not nationalistic or xenophobic. It is about the civic and communal nature of public education.
She writes: “On Saturday I spoke at the “Expose the Gulen Movement” protest rally held on a farm in the rural, rolling hills around Saylorsburg, PA. We assembled less than two miles from the compound where Fethullah Gulen lives. Gulen is considered to be one of the two most powerful men in Turkey. This is the video of my speech, starting at 00:45 min. http://new.livestream.com/…/AbdEylemVakti/videos/28766474 .
Earlier that day, Gulenist operatives had driven around to take down the signs that organizers had posted to help guide protesters to the rally. The day before, a man from “the camp” (Gulen’s compound) also attempted to bribe the owners of the farm in an effort to prevent us from using their place. I also spoke at yesterday’s “Expose the Gulen Movement” conference in Piscataway, NJ, attended by 100 people, mostly Turkish Americans. My segment starts at 40:00 min. and lasts 20 min.
I understand the conference was simultaneously broadcast in Turkey. In both talks I explain how the privatization of public education has allowed the Gulen movement to establish the largest charter school network in the US. Their 146 charter schools will enroll over 60,000 students this year. The schools’ taxpayer-supplied revenue is up to approximately one-half billion dollars per year.
Preceding me in both videos is Mary Addi, a former Gulen charter school teacher. She was interviewed in the 60 Minutes piece. The moderator at the conference is Kaya Boztepe, ex-president of the Federation of Turkish American Associations. The conference panelists seated at the table are a retired Turkish admiral and two Turkish journalists. The journalists, who have been critical of the government and the Gulen Movement, spent nearly two years in jail after being arrested under terrorism charges. They were finally released but I understand their trials are still pending and it is expected that they will be found guilty and end up with long sentences. Turkey now leads the world with jailing journalists.
More about those panelists here:
I want to emphasize that the panelists and conference attendees are incredibly alarmed by Fethullah Gulen’s escalating power and the manner in which he has acquired it. Gulen has been hiding out at his compound in the US since 1998, but he periodically delivers messages through his media organs in Turkey (Zaman newspapers), as well as weekly sermons (and some even believe fatawa) to his followers online.
In Pennsylvania I met a local resident who reported personally seeing guards with “machine guns” at the entry of the compound in the late 1990s. Locals have also seen helicopters flying over the compound. I’ve read reports about those things, but never knew if they were true or not. Over the past two days, I also met a lot of Turkish Americans with personal stories of their own about the Gulenists. This group’s stealth strategy is brilliant, and dangerous. They intimidate and threaten their critics and many, many people are afraid of speaking out against them. The big question is why is our government letting this group run so many charter schools?”
The above article is taken from Diane Ravitch’s blog.
Diane Ravitch is a NYU professor and a former Assistant US Secretary of Education. She is now the leading spokesperson working to expose the fraud of this current era of privatizing education reform. Her new book coming (“Reign of Error”) out is going to be huge. A few years ago, her previous book made it to the New York Times bestseller list its first week out. The current book includes a long paragraph about the Gulen charter schools.