There is a strong possibility that the controversial Gulen Turkish Charter Schools, together with their emphasis on hiring teachers from Turkey via the H-1B program, will arrive soon in the District of Columbia, the Washington Post reported this week.
While the paper mentioned both the ties to the Gulen movement (more on that later) and some of these schools' controversial contracting practices — which I liken to those of Tammany Hall of old — the Post, as is its wont, said nothing about these schools' tendencies to use the H-1B program to hire staff when there are multitudes of qualified American teachers out of work. To do so would have violated the Post mantra that all immigration is good at all times.
The bidder for a charter school contract in D.C. is the huge, Texas-based, and misnamed Harmony Public Schools — misnamed because these are private schools supported by tax funds. A D.C. public body will vote this coming Monday as to whether or not Harmony can receive local tax moneys to operate a high school with an emphasis on math and science in Washington. It currently runs some 40 charter schools in Texas.
These schools not only have a record of displacing resident teachers (both citizens and green card holders) with imports from Turkey — they never seem to hire from other countries — but they have, as we reported earlier, used the H-1B program to bring Turkish-language teachers into their schools, despite the fact that there is absolutely no known demand for high school-level instruction in that language.
Harmony, as it routinely does, denies that it is connected to Fethullah Gulen, who has the Wizard of Oz-like characteristic of being identified in Turkey as a leading Muslim cleric while simultaneously proclaiming himself a secular educator in the United States. Gulen, who had to go to court to get his own green card, lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. He leads a movement rather than an organization. His schools in the United States do not provide religious instruction.