Sunday, April 22, 2012

What is a Turkish Imam Doing in North Philadelphia?

"Truebright Science Academy Charter School in North Philadelphia is one of more than 130 charter schools nationwide run by followers of the Turkish imam M. Fetullah Gulen, and federal officials have put it under a microscope. [...]

The Inquirer reported last spring that federal agencies are investigating whether some Turkish charter-school employees are required to kick back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen known as Hizmet, or Service, according to knowledgeable sources.

They also are trying to determine whether the schools are abusing the H1-B visa program, which has allowed hundreds of Turkish teachers, administrators, and other staffers to work in charter schools.
The visas are used to attract foreign workers, especially with math, science, and technology skills for which there are shortages of qualified Americans. [...]

After The Inquirer reported last year that records showed uncertified, foreign-born teachers were paid more than their certified American counterparts, at least nine filed discrimination complaints with the EEOC.
One American teacher said she never imagined she would be lodging a complaint in her own country alleging discrimination based on national origin. [...]"

In related news, "[t]he U.S. state of Tennessee has passed a new law limiting the number of foreign teachers at charter schools in an apparent reaction to educational institutions linked to Gulen Community led by Turkish religious leader Fethullah Gulen," according to a report on Hurriyet Daily on April 18.The report states that "[t]he law decreases the percentage of foreign teachers that can be employed in a charter school from 10 percent to 3.5 percent."

To read the thorough piece in the Inquirer, visit here. To read the report on new law in the state of Tennessee visit here.