A veteran U.S. education leader has blasted a for-profit school project run by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in the rural south.
After its 2016 attempted coup in Turkey was defeated, FETÖ has depended more heavily on its for-profit schools worldwide, even as the media and education professionals have sharply questioned the schools' purposes and finances.
Commenting on a new FETÖ school in Alabama, Diane Ravitch, a former U.S. assistant secretary of education, said: "The Gülenists must think that people in Alabama are easy marks. They proposed to open a charter school in a rural county with good schools that didn't want a charter school."
"Everyone warned Alabama officials to reject the proposal, even the National Association of Charter School Authorizers," Ravitch, now a professor of education at New York University, wrote on her blog late Friday.
Under the heading "Alabama: Why Did a Rural County Get a Gülen Charter with a Pricey CEO?" Ravitch also questioned the high salaries of the Gülen-affiliated administration at the Woodland Prep charter school, located in a poverty-stricken area.
She wrote that the school's head "will have a base salary of $300,000 in one of the poorest states in the nation."
Raising further questions about the school, Ravitch quoted in a report by the Alabama Political Reporter website: "Its land is owned by a shady Utah holding company. Its building is owned by a for-profit Arizona company. It will be managed by a for-profit Texas company that doesn't employ a single Alabamian. Its application was rejected by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which Alabama pays a hefty sum to review and approve charter applications.
"Woodland also is not welcome in Washington County, where residents turned up at a 10-1 ratio to speak out against it last year during community meetings."
Ravitch, the author of many books on education, is a strong advocate of the public school system and a vocal critic of the Gülen charter schools in the U.S.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the July 15, 2016 defeated coup which left 251 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured in Turkey. FETÖ has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private schools that serve as a key revenue stream for the terror group. FETÖ runs some 150 charter schools in several states of the U.S.