A 2012 blog post on the National Education Policy Center website discusses the emergence of Gülen-affiliated charter schools in Massachusetts. The post raises questions about the disproportionate number of H1-B visas filed by the schools:
So called “Turkish” schools, math and science charters dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and innovation, are sprouting faster than cells in a petri dish. Massachusetts is already home to two such charters: the Hampden Charter School of Science in Chicopee and the Pioneer Charter School of Science in Everett. Now the Massachusetts Board of Education is poised to give the thumbs up to two more Pioneer schools.
The Massachusetts schools are part of a vast national network of Turkish-run charters inspired by powerful Turkish Imam and US resident Fethullah Gülen. The Gülen charters were the subject of an extensive 60 Minutes investigation last summer; the FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education are also investigating whether teachers brought over from Turkey to work at the charter schools are forced to kick back part of their salary to aid Gülen and his movement.
Which brings us back to Massachusetts. The principal of the Pioneer Charter School of Science, Barish Icin,told the Lynn Daily Item that his school has no ties to Gülen, and attributed the persistent questions to haters—of charters, Turks and excellence.
I couldn’t agree with Mr. Icin more—hating on a school because of the ethnicity or religion of the people who run it is wrong. But using a state-of-the-art investigative technique known as Google I was able to determine in roughly 2.5 minutes that Pioneer and its sister school in “the Western Mass” are virtually identical to the 120+ charters that have attracted the attention of federal investigators. One local eyebrow raiser: since 2007, Pioneer Charter School of Science has applied for a whopping 28 H1-B visas, seeking to import teachers for seemingly every one of the school’s 27 positions. Hampden Charter in Chicopee, meanwhile, has applied for 17 H1-B visas, including 8 just for math teachers.