Triad Math and Science Academy

An accomplished charter school in Greensboro is eyeing the former Exploris Middle School in Raleigh for a new campus that could open this fall. But parents have raised questions about the quality of some of its teachers, many of whom are from Turkey. Those Turkish ties have also led to speculation that Triad Math and Science Academy (TMSA) could be part of a larger network of schools affiliated with the Islamic Gülen movement, an allegation that school officials and supporters vehemently deny...

But parents and former employees have concerns they hope state decision makers and the school will address before the charter is approved. They include the school's use of international teachers and staff visiting on visas, some of whom lack the English skills to adequately teach their classes; and classroom management, particularly for some international faculty. And then there's what a former TMSA employee called the "elephant in the corner."

Several times since TMSA opened in 2008, parents and former employees have speculated that TMSA is linked to Fethullah Gülen, a controversial Islamic preacher whom religious scholars regard as promoting a moderate form of Islam...

Charter schools suspected of Gülen ties are cookie-cutter K–12 academies focused on math, science and engineering, founded by highly educated Turkish scientists and businessmen. Many of the founders have advanced degrees but often limited experience in education. In addition to being founded by Turkish nationals, the schools often spend thousands of dollars to sponsor H1B visas for international faculty and staff, mostly from Turkey.

TMSA fits the model. The board that founded the school in 2008 had five members, three from Turkey, according to their résumés. A fourth board member had a Turkish spouse, and was also the lone member of the board who had a background in education. The board now has seven members, the majority of them from Turkey, according to their résumés...

TMSA also has eight international teachers on visas, including five from Turkey. All together, TMSA has 10 Turkish or Turkish-American employees, of 57 total, including the principal and assistant principal. Since it opened, TMSA has sponsored 17 visas for teachers, at a cumulative cost of $25,500, Orak said. For the past two years, the school has had an annual operating budget of about $4 million, he said...

State Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, toured TMSA last week, and questioned Orak about the availability of local teachers. Since 2008, more than 2,100 public school teachers have been laid off and the state has eliminated more than 6,100 teaching jobs, including 187 in Guilford County.

"I have a neighbor whose wife is going to China to teach physics," Harrison said after the tour. "It seemed odd to me that you wouldn't be able to hire a qualified teacher to teach math and science when we have qualified math and science teachers here going abroad because they can't find a job."

Many international teachers who have arrived at TMSA have such poor English skills that they can't do their jobs effectively, parents said...

But despite the concerns of some community members, TMSA's administration has never held a meeting with parents or teachers to openly address the concerns, Orak said...

Even if the allegations are untrue, the school—at the very least—is facing a major public relations problem. [Joel] Medley, the state director of charter schools, said he visited the school last week and asked again about the issue. "I just asked if they were going to respond to the allegations," Medley said. "It's out there." School officials need to be more proactive in addressing it, he said.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, please read “Triad Math and Science Academy: Evidence of affiliation with Gulen Movement” @

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Check the pay scales of the HB-1 Turk teachers. They are earning 10K- 12K more than their US teacher counterparts. Why/how is this acceptable?

The Perimeter Primate said...

It has been reported that this is one of the ways the Gulenists have discovered to direct taxpayer supplied money goes into the pocket of their organization. Movement members are expected to pay a generous portion of their earnings (tuzuk) to their local collector who then uses it in ways to advance the movement's goals. All transactions are completely under the radar.

Naturally, the schools explain all of this away by saying that their math and science Turkish and Turkic (=Gulenist) teachers who they were *forced* to import deserve to be paid more. The cream floating on top is ready made for their skimming.

Charter School Watchdog has posted quite a lot about this.
http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com/tuzuk---a-contract-to-steal.html