First published on Schools Matter on March 17, 2015
"The Walton family, founder of Wal-mart, the worldwide retail giant, has donated millions of dollars to schools considered to be associated with the Gülen community." — Charter School Scandals
The largest chain of privately managed charter schools in the United States is that of those affiliated with the cultish Gülenist Movement. Proving that no scandal is too large for the combined financial and political power of the revenue hungry charter school industry, the Los Angeles based Magnolia branches of the Gülen Network have essentially committed the crime, but will not do the time. The Los Angeles Times outlines the scale of Magnolia's crimes:
"An audit performed last year for the district’s Office of the Inspector General found that Magnolia was $1.66 million in the red, owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees and met the federal definition of insolvency. The Palms academy also was insolvent, the audit found."
One cringes thinking of all the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public school libraries that could have been reopened with those millions "missing" from the privately managed Magnolia Gülen Charters.
Last time millions of dollars went "missing" from a huge Los Angeles charter chain was during the massive Inner City Education Fund (ICEF) scandal. Their former "CEO" Mike Piscal is still at large somewhere in the country. Steve Poizner's partner in the crime of establishing the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), Caprice Young, was brought in as the spin-spokesperson for that staggering squandering of taxpayer money. Once more Young is brought in to provide cover for mind-boggling charter school impropriety, this time at Magnolia. Turns out Caprice Young has been working for Gülen's charter network all along documents the connections between Young and her new employer.
The intrepid Scott M. Folsom gathered all the news on this issue, and added his salient thoughts on the matter. I do differ with Folsom on one point—this has everything to with "Fethullah Gülen involvement", and anyone aware of the cult's well documented undue influence over LAUSD board members like Monica Garcia, knows how much power these malfeasants have.
The allegations against Magnolia are of Misuse of Public Funds. Plain and simple.
No amount of “great schoolage” and kids on waiting lists forgive this. Ultimately this is a matter of law enforcement - and the LAUSD Board – as public trustees and empowered with enforcing the charter law and protecting the public purse – have blinked/waffled/whatever.
I hate to be “zero intolerant” – but there are no waivers or mulligans for malfeasance.
The Man Behind the Curtain has nothing to do with the case: This has nothing to do with with the Fethullah Gülen involvement with Magnolia; to bring that up is a bit of misdirection.
Parental Choice does not give the right to parents to choose to send their kids to a bad school -- whether the school is bad because it does a crummy job of teaching students or managing the public’s funds. I consider Caprice Young a friend – but she has been brought in to save the day and impose order amidst fiscal chaos while framing and spinning and charming the story of the chaos as something less than egregious.
The biblical metaphor of pouring oil upon the waters comes to mind – but ask the folks on the Gulf Coast – or in Alaska: Oily waters are not necessarily a desirable outcome!
The Board in its role as charter authorizer and overseer moved to suspend the three charters. It may have dodged a public vote earlier – but it had authorized the superintendent to act in its behalf. That’s what superintendents and Boards of Ed do.
Then the Board of Ed went into closed session and changed their mind and/or had their minds changed.
The process of granting, suspending and reviewing charters is supposed to occur in Mr. Justice Brandeis’ “Disinfecting Sunshine”. Instead it happened behind closed doors in the guise of settling a lawsuit.