Magnolia Science Academy is without a doubt a Gulen Managed charter school

The Gulen Movement is fantastic at advertising, PR, and bestwowing fake honors on their students, politicians, local media and academia. The Parents4Magnolia blog is NOT American parents it is members of the Gulen Movement in damage control mode. Magnolia Science Academy, Pacific Technology School and Bay Area Technology is the name of their California schools. They are under several Gulen NGOs: Pacifica Institute, Willow Education, Magnolia Educaiton Foundation, Accord Institute, Bay Area Cultural Connection. Hizmet aka Gulen Movement will shamelessly act like satisifed American parents or students. They will lie, cajole, manipulate, bribe, blackmail, threaten, intimidate to get their way which is to expand the Gulen charter schools. If this doesn't work they play victim and cry "islamophobia". Beware of the Gulen propagandists and Gulen owned media outlets. DISCLAIMER: if you find some videos are disabled this is the work of the Gulen censorship which has filed fake copyright infringement complaints to Utube

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gulen Cult Film 'LOVE IS A VERB' Berkeley Protest/STOP Public Funding Of...

Sponsored by Pacifica Institute the lobbying arm of the Gulen Movement

In the beginning of Gulenist Magnolia Science Academy, young and inexperienced applicants


Examining the early days of Magnolia Science Academy, you will scratch your head in bewilderment at how these schools were approved back in 2001
 CEO history of the Magnolia organization:
  • 2002 to ~2008: Huseyin Hurmali rotated out of the Gulen education world to become chairman of the West America Turkic Council (WATC), one of the six regional NGOs under the Turkic American Alliance, the Gulen Movement's national US umbrella. By 2012, Hurmali was back in Turkey working for the Journalists and Writers Foundation, a major, and completely acknowledged to be Gulenist public relations NGO (in Turkish: Gazeticiler ve Yazarlar Vakfi, GYV). Today Hurmanli, the first CEO of Magnolia, is the vice president of GYV.
  • 2009 to 2011: Suleyman Bahceci appears in the original 2000 application for the first Harmony school in TX, listed as a member of the charter school development team. Now he's executive VP for a Gulenist university in Virginia.  
  • 2012 to 2014 (late summer): Mehmet Argin (returned to Turkey and works at a Gulenist university there.  
  • 2014 (late summer to end of year): Murat Biyik, interim CEO (now listed as a board member of the Gulen charter school in UT)
  • 2015 to present: Caprice Young
2. Info about the people involved with the very first Magnolia charter school. Since I've never been able to get hold of the original MSA-Reseda petition submitted to LAUSD in 2001 (would likely list the founding team members), I looked at the board members who appear on the very first tax return for the Dialog Cultural, Scientific & Educational Foundation (the original name of the Magnolia nonprofit). The Dialog Foundation nonprofit was incorporated on 8/28/1997, but I don't know who filed it or if there was a false start before 2001 that we don't know about.
They are:
1. Remzi Oten, president
2. Ertan Salik, vice president
3. Greg Sotzing, director
4. Buket Aktas, director
5. Ali Emre Uyar, director
6. Yusef Ateskan, director
My best summary for what was going on in late 2001 thru 2002:
  • All of the above were between ~26 and ~30 years old.
  • Almost all were in graduate school or had obtained graduate degrees very recently.
  • Five were from Turkey; one was an American who was not even living in California at the time.
  • The Turkish individuals had been living in the US from one year (or possibly even less) up to 7-10 years.
  • Two of the six returned to Turkey
  • Two of the six now live in other states
  • Two of the six (Oten and Salik) have remained in Southern California
  • None of the above had experience in US K-12 education
I suspect this is basically the pattern for every Gulen charter school effort made in the early years. Later on, many of the Gulenists who wanted to start charter schools were also able to recruit non-Turkish/Turkic sympathizers and outsiders to be on their founding teams and boards (people who had been on Gulenist-sponsored Turkey trips, etc.).
Details based on information obtained online on 2/24/2016.
1. Remzi Oten (b. ~1972): Came to the US from Turkey between 1992 (the year he obtained a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University) and 1995 (the year he entered graduate school at UC-Irvine). Thus Oten had been in the US for seven or so years when he became the ~30 y/o board president for Dialog Cultural, Scientific & Educational Foundation (see Form 990s for 2002 and 2003). What he’s doing today: NOTE: In 2015, Oten returned as a Magnolia board member. In 2012, his wife Tugba (using the name "Michelle Oten") listed herself as "Pacifica Insitute/Outreach Coordinator" on the form for her $1,500 campaign contribution to Loretta Sanchez. On her form for her $1,200 contribution to Alan Lowenthal that year, she called herself Tugba M. Oten.
2. Ertan Salik (b. ~1973): Salik came to the US from Turkey between 1994 (the year he obtained a BS in Physics from Bogazici University) and 1996/1997 (approx. year he started graduate school at the University of Southern California). Thus, when he was pitching the first Magnolia charter school to LAUSD in the fall of 2001, Salik was a ~28 y/o newly minted USC PhD who had only been in the US for four to five years, all of that time in graduate school. He appears on Dialog/Magnolia’s Form 990s for 2002 and 2003 as vice president, and for 2004 and 2006 as president. No Form 990 for 2005 is available. Salik contributes articles to the Gulenist Fountain Magazine (see the photo I took of it being advertised at the Anatolian Fest), What he’s doing today:
3. Greg Sotzing (b. ~1974): In 1997, Sotzing obtained his PhD from the University of Florida then completed a post doc at the California Institute of Technology, finishing in 1999. Dialog/Magnolia lists him on its tax return (Form 990s for 2002 and 2003), but he was not living in California at the time. As it turns out, Sotzing was working at the University of Connecticut as an Assistant Professor from 1999 to 2004. Of importance is that Sotzing helped establish Putnam Science Academy, a private Gulen school in Connecticut and served as its president starting in 2002. What he’s doing today: NOTE: Sotzing married Fatma Selampinar at some point. She is a lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at UConn and they have two children.
4. Buket Aktas (female, birth year not known): In 2001 Aktas came to Los Angeles from Turkey, but then returned in 2003. Although she was in the US for only two years, she was made a board member for the Dialog/Magnolia organization for those years (see Form 990s for 2002 and 2003). What she's doing today is not known.
5. Ali Emre Uyar (b. 1976): Now going by the name Emre Uyar. In 2000, after obtaining his MA in Economics from Bilkent University, Uyar came to the US to start a graduate fellowship at UCLA. By 2002 he was a 26 y/o board member for the Dialog/Magnolia organization (Form 990s for 2002, 2003, and 2007). Uyar completed his PhD in 2007, and then appears at Duke University in 2009. What he’s doing today:
6. Yusef Ateskan (b. ~1974): Ateskan came to the US from Turkey after obtaining his BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Middle East Technical University in 1996. By 2001 he had obtained his MS in Electrical Engineering from USC. He appears as a director for Dialog Cultural, Scientific & Educational Foundation on its Form 990s for 2002 and 2003 (~28 y/o at the time). The exact year of his return to Turkey is not known but by 2008 he was working as a senior engineer at Vestel in Izmir. What he’s doing today:

Sign Magnolia Petition Today
Magnolia Petition click here

Cover letter for COMPLAINT against Magnolia Science Academy

Cover Letter to UCP Complaint against Magnolia Public Schools

Gulen Movement participates in CCSA shit show -Why use a Turk as a speaker?

How does this help to recruit more students when a Gulenist Turk has poor English skills?

One would think that the face and voice of Magnolia Science Academy should be their CEO and Superintendent CAPRICE YOUNG.  Instead they use Ibrahim (Abraham) Bayraktar that is connected to the other "Gulen inspired" schools in Arizona - Sonoran Science Academy.  Bayraktar is currently the listed with ACCORD INSTITUTE (Accord Education)
But the judge ordered Magnolia Science Academy to severe ties with Accord Insitute

Sounds like another shit show, 

Speaker- GULENIST Ibrahim (Abraham) Bayraktar
teaches at the other "Gulen Inspired" school 
Sonoran Science Academy in Arizona what is he doing in CALIFORNIA?

Ibrahim Bayraktar a.k.a. Abraham Bayraktar
  • Teacher, Vice Principal, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
  • Accord Institute, Irvine, California (Gulenist organization)                                                  
Ibrahim Bayraktar is a science teacher at Sonoran Science Academy - Tucson located in Tucson, Arizona and part of Daisy Education Corporation Dba Sonoran Science Academy. Ibrahim Bayraktar's 5 teacher ratings contributes to Sonoran Science Academy - Tucson's ranking of 116 in Arizona. Additionally, the average teacher rating at Sonoran Science Academy - Tucson is 4.24 stars.

Linked in Profile shows he is currently at Accord 
If that is true, what is Ibrahim doing representng Magnolia Science Academy at a CCSA event
July 2014 - Magnolia was ordered to sever "ties" with Accord
At Zoom Info

At Accord Conference August 2010

Ibrahim Bayraktar spoke on "Formative Assessment of Science" (August 2 nd)

On the Sonoran Science Academy Alumni Blog

  • Physical Education classes were held in the parking lot and basketball court, where students ran track, played frisbee golf, and basketball.
  • Students and faculty celebrate their first day of Sonoran Science Academy with a barbecue.
  • Notable faculty include: Dr. Ozkur Yildiz, Murat Biyik, Ibrahim Bayraktar, Melik Sayin, Ibrahim Ozcan, Barbara Hill-Flajnik and vice principal Julia Anderson.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Killing ED- Gulen charter schools

Trailer for KILLING ED from Visual Truth Projects on Vimeo. KILLING ED is a new documentary feature film that exposes a shocking truth: that one of the largest networks of taxpayer-funded charter schools in the U.S. are a worst-case-scenario—operated with questionable academic, labor, and H1-B visa standards by members of the “Gülen Movement” – a rapidly expanding, global Islamic group whose leader, Fethullah Gülen, lives in seclusion in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. KILLING ED enlightens its audiences everywhere with a shocking, first-hand look inside the schools while revealing the corruption of those attempting to privatize our public schools through education ‘reform’ in America.

SIGN Petition to demand investigation of Magnolia Schools

Larson O'Brien LLP has been retained by Amsterdam & Partners LLP to serve as local counsel concerning Magnolia Public Schools

2016 03:13 PM Eastern Standard Time
LOS ANGELES--()--Larson O’Brien LLP has been retained by Amsterdam & Partners LLP to serve as local counsel and assist in an investigation in California of legal and regulatory issues concerning Magnolia Public Schools and its alleged ties to the organization of charter schools and businesses headed by the Imam Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen, a Turkish national who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, was added to Turkey’s most wanted list in October 2015 and is the subject of a pending extradition request. Larson O’Brien LLP will work directly with Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners, an international human rights and anti-corruption law firm based in London
Larson O’Brien LLP is a Los Angeles-based boutique law firm specializing in complex litigation, investigations, appeals, and white collar defense. The firm’s founders include Stephen G. Larson, a former US District Judge and former federal prosecutor, and Robert C. O’Brien, the former California managing partner of a national AMLAW firm and former US Representative to the United Nations General Assembly.

Amsterdam & Partners LLP
Robert Amsterdam, +44 20 3617 6640+44 20 3617 6640
Larson O’Brien LLP
Stephen Larson, 213-436-4888213-436-4888

 Sign PETITION demand investigation on Magnolia Science Academy

Magnolia petition to encourage state of California to investigate, filed motion and exhibits

Support the Call for Investigation

We, the undersigned, wish to raise our profound concern over the apparent lack of enforcement action by the State of California in response to the results of the 2015 audit of four Magnolia Schools, which discovered, among other alleged unlawful activities, self-dealing to affiliated contractors, non-transparent accounting and missing records for 69% of transactions, and the misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for immigration lawyers to secure H1-B visa for teachers from Turkey.
As Magnolia has applications open for eight new charter schools in California totaling projected budgets of almost $48 million of taxpayer funds for each school, we believe that these alarming red flags merit scrutiny.
I have read the UCP Complaint against Magnolia Educational & Research Foundation, d.b.a. Magnolia Public Schools, and I am signing this petition to indicate that I adopt this complaint as my own. By signing, I am demanding the State of California and the California Department of Education to review this complaint and conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation into Magnolia immediately.

Brief in Support of Uniform Complaint Procedure

To download a PDF version of this complaint, please click here.
Complainants Dr. José F. Moreno, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Latino Education and Policy Studies at California State University Long Beach, Tina Andres, math teacher with twenty-eight years in the Santa Ana School District, and Amsterdam & Partners LLP, a law firm based in Washington, D.C. and London, submit this complaint pursuant to the Uniform Complaint Procedure against the Magnolia Educational & Research Foundation, d.b.a. Magnolia Public Schools (collectively “Magnolia”). Dr. Moreno is a California taxpayer and the proud parent of four students, two currently enrolled in the Anaheim Union High School District and two enrolled in Anaheim City School District, both districts Magnolia has targeted for expansion. Ms. Andres is also a California taxpayer, a veteran public school teacher, and the proud parent of two students currently enrolled in the Santa Ana School District, a district with an existing Magnolia charter school.

Amsterdam & Partners LLP is engaged by the Republic of Turkey to investigate Magnolia and certain other charter schools in the United States for, among other things, their suspected ties and illegal funneling of state and federal public funds to an organization of charter schools and other businesses headed by Fethullah Gülen, a reclusive Turkish imam who resides in Saylorsville, Pennsylvania. That organization (referred to in this Complaint as the “Gülen Organization”) is further suspected of employing ill-gotten public funds to facilitate a host of illegal activities in the United States, as well as in Turkey – a NATO ally – and elsewhere internationally. Indeed, Magnolia’s activities appear to be part of, and consistent with, a broad pattern of illegal activity observed at other U.S. charter schools operated for the ultimate benefit of the Gülen Organization.

 Sign Petition for Magnolia Science Academy investigation

Friday, February 12, 2016

Magnolia Science Academy OIG (Office of the Inspector General) Audits and Investigations

Caprice Young thought the worst was behind her, that her group's charter schools would be free to grow steal after straightening out the poor financial record-keeping that prompted a recent state audit.
She was wrong. 
The school district still found fault with her organization's petitions to open new campuses. District officials told her to expect rejection.
Young's group, Magnolia Public Schools, eventually abandoned the effort.<---Good no one wants them.

Charter supporters say the district is unfairly scrutinizing their independently run campuses because it sees them as a threat.
At Tuesday's board meeting, members are poised to reject two new charters — this in addition to the three charter petitions that Young withdrew from consideration.
Since July 1, L.A. Unified has denied six petitions and approved five others, according to figures from the California Charter Schools Assn.
That's less than a 50% approval rate. Two years ago it was 89% and last year it was 77%, according to the association.
In a letter emailed to the board Monday, leaders of charter groups accused the district of obstructing their efforts to improve public education:
"We are concerned that this district is looking for reasons to prevent new charter schools from opening, even those proposed by the most respected, successful charter operators. Issues that in the past were seen as minor or correctable are now elevated to significant issues that somehow warrant denial." There is more than a hundred reasons that Magnolia Science Academy should not only be denied but closed down in the State of California. 
Twenty-one charter organizations, enrolling 56,000 students, signed the letter, which continued:
"Given the measurable drop in approvals for new petitions, the inconsistent and non-transparent review processes, and the backroom pressure to abandon our efforts to grow, we all feel it is appropriate to bring these concerns into the light of day." Magnolia Science Academy represents less than 8% of the 21 charter schools.
The school district has not analyzed its approval rate, said Jose Cole-Gutierrez, <---use to work for CCSA (California Charter School Association)  head of the charter-school division, and he denied any wrongdoing or change in policy.
"The process has remained the same, and the findings are there for the board and the public to review," he said. "Our office continues to be focused on quality for students and putting students first."
Charters' rapid growth — to about 101,000 students in L.A. — is responsible for about half of a precipitous drop in district enrollment and the funding that comes with it.
Charter operators said that families who want to take advantage of charters should not be thwarted. The charter association also points to regulations indicating that charters can't be blocked because of harm to the district budget. That is ridiculous pretzel logic. Charters want the same funding as traditional public schools but they don't want the same accountability, laws, regulations. 
The issue with Magnolia included problems with signatures on the petition and under-enrollment at some of its 11 campuses, Cole-Gutierriez said. 

In fact some of the Magnolia Schools should be closed look at this paltry enrollment record, yet Caprice Young tries to say "We have hundreds of students on waiting lists" 

It also may be noteworthy that Magnolia is the subject of a long-running review by the district's inspector general. No allegations of significant wrongdoing have emerged.
For Young, the justifications sound more like excuses. Young's entire education career has been one excuse after another. 
"Despite bending over backward to answer all of their questions, they were going to turn down our charters," said Young, who signed the letter. Were you bending over when the Turks offered you a huge salary to turn around their financial mismanagement? Maybe you kneel more to blow them then bend over. 

Another charter group facing a thumbs down for new petitions Tuesday is Partnerships to Uplift Communities. It was co-founded by recently elected school board member Ref Rodriguez, who is expected to recuse himself from issues involving his former schools.<---Good
Partnerships to Uplift Communities' petitions have sailed through in the past, but its handling of food contracts has been under district investigation.
"It appears that the emerging new policy may be that you get no new charters if your existing charters have any problems," said one district insider who was not authorized to speak on the record.
Another charter group, Ingenium Schools, is being threatened with revocation of its authority to operate three of its campuses, based on construction work that allegedly posed a safety risk to students.
Twitter: @howardblume
Editor's note: Education Matters receives funding from a number of foundations, including one mentioned in this article. The California Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles administer grants from the Baxter Family Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the California Endowment and the Wasserman Foundation. Under terms of the grants, The Times retains complete control over editorial content.

A number of charter school operators across LA Unified say the district and its school board are turning up the heat on them to an unbearable degree while using the Charter Schools Division and Office of Inspector General to make approval and renewals of charter schools increasingly difficult.
They claim there has been an increase in the number of investigations by the Inspector General’s office and more denials of charters by the board though increased scrutiny by the district’s Charter Schools Division.
The board has already denied more charter applications in the last six months than it had in the previous two years combined, and it is likely to issue at least three more denials at today’s board meeting. Three other applications were withdrawn last week by Magnolia Public Schools after the Charter Schools Division was set to recommend denial.
The board rarely goes against staff recommendations on charters and has only done so one time in the last year.
“It’s starting to feel like a witch hunt as opposed to effective oversight and accountability,” said Magnolia Public Schools CEO and Superintendent Caprice Young, who served as LAUSD board president from 2001-2003. “I definitely believe some of the board members confuse increased bureaucracy with effective oversight.” No Caprice you are the only one that is confused. You and your Turk buddies are not wanted in the USA
Previous to Young taking over Magnolia a little over a year ago, LA Unified attempted to shut down two of its campuses over fiscal mismanagement. But then a state audit issued in May said the district acted too hastily in trying to shut the schools down.
Young said Magnolia has been the focus of a series of investigations by the Inspector General’s office and it is beginning to feel like a never-ending investigation. Just as she thought the investigations of Magnolia were over and relations with the district were returning to normal, she discovered Magnolia was the subject of a new investigation when the Inspector General’s office asked for financial records dating back to 2002, something it had already fully investigated in the past. OIG should be looking for 2-3 sets of books and under other names like their original charter holder "DIALOGUE FOUNDATION" - Dialogue is a center buzz word to the Gulen Movement except it's all smoke and mirrors.  No Dialogue has every been established in Turkey it's in civil unrest.
“The Inspector General should not be allowed to investigate charters indefinitely,” Young said. “These investigations put an unnecessary cloud over charters, which I believe is intentional. The investigations are taking place in search of problems instead of in response to evidence of problems.” No Caprice, they have the right to investigate you and your Gulen controlled Magnolia Science Academies as long as they need to unless of course you would like to give up public funding.  Your problems are there and they are big, hence the reason you were DENIED or WITHDREW all 7 applications in California. 

Young said the investigation was launched in August days after a Broad Foundation plan to finance a major expansion of charter schools in the district was leaked. Prove it or STFU
A nonprofit to execute the plan, Great Public Schools Now (GPS Now), was formed later and has since said the plan is being retooled to finance charters, magnets and other district schools. Still, the plan has been denounced by the school board in a December resolution because of the perceived threat it sees to the district’s enrollment and finances. Several board members have delivered scathing public comments attacking the plan, with board President Steve Zimmer saying the backers of the plan want to “bring down” the district.
In an open letter to LAUSD that was sent to LA School Report by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA), 23 charter operators said they see a connection between the opposition to the plan and the increased scrutiny of charter schools.
“We are concerned that the current political and financial climate is impacting the district’s ability or willingness to review new charter petitions objectively,” the letter states. “We fear that as long as charters are unfairly singled out as the main cause of the district’s financial troubles, the district could choose to respond by preventing new charters from opening.”
When asked by LA School Report if his office is using “a finer microscope” when looking at charter schools or requesting more investigations of charters by the Inspector General’s office, Jose Cole-Gutierrez, director of LA Unified’s Charter School Division, said: “We have remained faithful to the board’s policy and faithful to the law, and our department has not been asked nor is it our role to say, ‘Cut off the spigot. Increase the spigot.’ No. We judge them on the merits as they come in. Period.”
The Inspector General’s office looks at improper and illegal activities taking place within the district and tries to detect fraud, waste or abuse. The office — which reports directly to the board — can be requested by any board member to open an investigation and has the power to issue subpoenas. Good start to Subpoena the Gulenists like Umit (Matt) Yapanel who worked as principal of their Colorado Lotus School of Excellence, Yilmaz Ak principal of Santa Clara who came from Coral Academy of Science (NV) and loaned Magnolia like $40,000.  Then question Erdinc Acar who worked at Coral Academy of Science (NV) then Accord Institute (now called Accord Education) which was ordered severed ties to Magnolia by the judge.  Now Erdinc is on staff at Magnolia in a "fancy new title" which amounts to the same duties done by Accord.

Accord Institute is now called Accord Education, they have
shuffled the name and people around.

A. Re-branding in late 2015: New corporate name decided on 10/17/2015, per AND new website launched on 12/29/2015, per
B Board of directors
  1. Guilbert Hentschke, USC [ex-Magnolia board member w/multiple ties to the Pacifica Institute, including as a presenter at a PI co-sponsored event at Santa Clara University: “Comparing secular schooling arguments with the educational philosophies of Fethullah Gulen.”
  2. Elizabeth Munisoglu, Court Commissioner for LA superior court and widow of Nejat Munisoglu and She’s one of many appearing on Gulen-promotional videos produced by Spectra Media.
  3. Suat U. Ay, U of Idaho [Suat Utku Ay; Dialog/Magnolia board, Fountain Magazine author]
  4. Baris Cagdeser, InvenSense, Inc. [Willow Education/BayTech]
  5. Salih Kilic, Keyssa Systems [Bay Area resident; Pacifica Institute representative who met with a San Jose City public official in 2011, ; Q: Is he “Sam Kilic”, a broker associated with Kismet Investment Properties on Magnolia paperwork for the Santa Clara County Office of Education?]
C. Staff
  1. Matt Avsar, CEO [Ahmet Avsaroglu; previous positions at Magnolia & BayTech]
  2. Irfan Erol, CFO [Ahmet Irfan Erol; previous positions at Magnolia]
  3. Karen Evans, Director of Accountability [previous position at Magnolia; daughter of Greg Evans, creator of the Luann cartoon]
  4. Cruz Bustamante, Director of Business Development [ex-CA State Assemblymember, ex-Speaker of the Assembly, ex-Lieutenant Governor of CA] !!!
  5. Huseyin Gunay, Director of Compliancy [not much known]
  6. Ellie Watkins, Director of Marketing & Charter Development
  7. Holly Kekacs, Executive Assistant
  8. Travis Pryor, Analytics & Communications Manager
  9. Zekeriya Ocel, Character & CMLP Coordinator [previous position at Coral in Reno]
  10. Omer Odabasoglu, Guidance Coordinator [previous positions at Sonoran in Tucson & Beehive in UT]
  11. Ibrahim Bayraktar, STEAM Coordinator [previous positions at Sonoran in Tucson]
D. The only schools referenced on Accord’s website:
  1. Beehive
  2. Coral
  3. Lotus
  4. Sonoran
E. Advisory board
  1. Alan J. Daly, UC San Diego [since at least 2011]
  2. Ron Ferguson, Harvard University [since at least 2011]
  3. Robert Maranto, U of Arkansas
  4. June Schmeider-Ramirez, Pepperdine U [since at least 2011]

LAUSD Inspector General investigation of Magnolia Science Academy

Much of the Inspector General office’s work is done in secret without public discussion, and confirming the claims by charter operators that the office has increased investigations is difficult. While any financial audits of charters are publicly released and published on the district’s website, investigations are not generally publicly released, and the office will not confirm or discuss any ongoing investigation. Caprice if you have nothing to "hide" don't be concerned about secret investigations. 
There is some evidence that the office may have increased its number of investigations. The Inspector General, Ken Bramlett, went before the board’s Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee last month and requested an additional $570,000 for audits and investigations.
Ken should have the Santa Ana School District investigate the "sleep overs" at the Magnolia Santa Ana Campus and the unnecessary Turkish language teachers.  NOTE: Santa Ana Unified School District had DENIED this Magnolia School but the Gulenist "secretly" went to the county and state bypassing local authority for approval.

Taken from the Schools December 2015 Newsletter
He said, “Charter-related work consumes the most amount of investigative resources due to the time-sensitive nature of the work and the monthly deadlines for board action on charter petitions.” He added, “What really worries me is the more charter schools that we authorize or the more charter schools that are planned, that’s that much more we are going to be asked to do with no additional resources.”
This year alone, there are five ongoing large-scale charter school investigations, Bramlett told the LA School Report in an email, although it is unknown if that is an increase from years past. When asked if there is any public record of who asked for an investigation, or if the number of investigations has increased, he said that information was confidential per the state education code.
Bramlett, should check the qualifications of the Turkish principals who have no administrative educational degrees.  The Magnolia Science Academy Carson, CA campus just appointed an African American principal (a first for the Gulen Movement 146 charter schools)

The Charter Schools Division, which reports to the superintendent and issues recommendations to the board on the approval or denial of charter applications and renewals, can also request that the Inspector General open an investigation. Members of the public and other LAUSD divisions can also request an investigation through a hotline.
Cole-Gutierrez, who has been leading the division for eight years, insisted his office has not increased its scrutiny of charters or felt pressure to issue more recommendations for denials.
“Are we receiving indirect or direct pressure to deny charter schools? No,” Cole-Gutierrez said. “Our role is to be faithful to the process on the merits and give our best recommendation regardless of whatever else there may be in terms of perceptions, politics, etc., and I am proud of our team and our record to do so.”
When asked if his office had requested more investigations be launched by the Inspector General’s office, he said, “There are very few open investigations at the moment. I just think the facts don’t support that there are an increasing number.”
Young and other charter leaders said they see it differently and tell stories of being drowned in red tape. Several charter executives said they see a connection between the opposition to the GPS Now plan and increased scrutiny of charters that have been operating for years.
Parker Hudnut, a former LA Unified administrator who is now chief executive of ICEF Public Schools, a group of eight charters in LA Unified and two more in Inglewood Unified School District, put it this way:
“There’s absolutely a chilling effect going on, but I’m not smart enough to know what’s causing it. There has been a recent escalation, and the Broad plan may have a lot to do with that. But there’s what I call a dehumanization in the relationship between charters and LA Unified. It’s become a compliance culture; that’s the only thing we communicate about. There’s no space to talk about what we’re supposed to be talking about, and that’s helping kids.”
Cristina de Jesus, president and chief executive officer of Green Dot Public Schools California, which operates over a dozen schools in LAUSD, also said the scrutiny has increased. Green Dot has had eight charter renewals successfully go before the school board in the last year and had a new charter application approved in January. But de Jesus said it was no easy task.
“One of the frustrations I know that we have experienced and other folks have shared — and it could be the nature of the beast — but the target also seems to change,” she said. “What might be looked at one year might not be looked at the next year but something else is going to be, so it feels like you can’t get your bearings because the target is always changing.”
Young said the way charters are treated and analyzed is uneven compared to the scrutiny district schools receive.
“Back when I was on the board, we were approving charters with 50 pages of details and today the vast majority of those schools are thriving and are doing some cutting-edge work,” Young said. “Now, [charter applications] are 500 pages and most of that is boilerplate required by the school district, which makes the application process stifling. For the district to review a pilot school and approve it, they limit the submission to only 30 pages. With charters, the boilerplate alone is 10 times that.”
None of the seven school board members responded to a request by LA School Report to be interviewed for this story. Board member Ref Rodriguez, who took his seat on the board in July, sent a statement: “I have publicly advocated for more clear and transparent guidelines for how the superintendent makes a recommendation to the board regarding new petitions and renewals of charter schools.”
He added, “At the past six board meetings, I have had some outstanding questions regarding the grounds on which the district has based some of its recommendations. I acknowledge that quality oversight is complex and can be difficult; however, it is LAUSD’s duty, as the largest authorizer in the state, to ensure that all schools receive a fair, transparent, consistent and rigorous accountability process.”
Jed Wallace, the executive director of CCSA, said he also sees a pattern of anti-charter behavior by the board.
“Bottom line, this is a total witch hunt and charters are being harassed,” said Wallace, a former teacher in South-Central LA and administrator in San Diego before becoming chief operating officer of High Tech High, which grew from one school serving 400 students into eight schools serving more than 3,000 students during his tenure.
“This is not good authorizing and no other district in the state uses an [Inspector General]-like approach, an entity which was originally established to monitor LAUSD’s own bond efforts. LA’s charter sector is the best performing in the country and growing to meet the needs of students and their families. LAUSD has to do its part and improve its oversight to match that excellence.”

*Updated to reflect the letter was authored by 23 charter operators, not CCSA, and to include responses from Bramlett

Principal Ak and Sahin are they qualified to be administrative school employees? Ken Bramlett check out Mustafa leave Ak for Santa Clara.
Yilmaz Ak formerly associated with the Gulen operated Coral Academy of Science
which is now trying to get a school on the Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada

Now for the dismal academic record of Magnolia Science Academy that Caprice Young claims is "high performing"

Thursday, February 11, 2016

LAUSD moves to DENY 3 applications from Gulen operated Magnolia Science Academy

The LA Unified school board is expected on Tuesday to deny more applications for new charter schools and charter renewals than they may approve. This is the first time the recommended denials exceed approvals since the new configuration of the school board was seated last July.
Already, the board has denied as many charters in the past half year than in the previous two school years combined.
On Tuesday’s agenda, three denials have been recommended by LA Unified’s Charter School Division and two approvals. The board is not bound to follow the recommendations but usually does.
Three additional charter proposals, from Magnolia Public Schools, were pulled in advance of the school board meeting because they had been recommended for denial. CEO and Superintendent Caprice Young said she withdrew the three new charter applications last week rather than face the likely rejection by the board. In 2014 LA Unified denied renewals for two of its charters based on what it said were questionable practices. A judge ordered the schools change some of its practices but allowed them to stay open. In May, the board voted to renew the charters and the district settled a lawsuit with Magnolia that the charter organization had filed.
Two of the three schools recommended for denial Tuesday are from the Partnership to Uplift Communities (PUC), which was co-founded by one of the newest school board members, Ref Rodriguez.
It would be the first time in 17 years of operating schools in the district that PUC would be denied, said Jacqueline Elliot, co-founder of PUC, which operates 14 schools in the district. “I haven’t experienced this level of challenge and scrutiny in my two decades as a charter leader in the city,” Elliot said in an email to LA School Report. “But I believe the school board will recognize the tremendous value PUC adds to the school district and will demonstrate leadership by continuing to support our program for the thousands of families hungry for excellent educational opportunities in these neighborhoods.”
Since July, six of 11 applications for new charters in LA Unified have been denied, according to an LA School Report analysis. This represents a 45 percent approval rate, compared with a 77 percent approval rate for the 2014-2015 school year, when 10 were approved and three denied. In 2013-2014, 17 were approved and three denied, for an approval rate of 85 percent.
The reasons for Tuesday’s three recommended denials include low test scores, which the staff report says is “well below the performance of the public schools that the charter school pupils would otherwise have been required to attend.”
The staff found that the charter schools present “an unsound educational program” and that PUC is “demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program.”
Recommended for denial is a renewal for PUC’s Excel Charter Academy and a new charter for PUC’s International Preparatory Academy as well as a new charter for WISH (Westside Innovative School House) Academy High School.
PUC’s 14 schools show mixed results when compared to LA Unified schools in performance on the recent Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced standardized tests. The number of PUC students on average who met or exceeded the standards in the English Language Arts test was 40 percent, compared to 33 percent for the district. However, on the math test, PUC students averaged 23.85 percent, compared to 25 percent for the district.
PUC Excel’s average was below the district average in both math and English, with Excel averaging 28 percent in English and 15 percent in math.
The staff recommended that the board on Tuesday approve new charters for Arts in Action Community Middle School and El Camino Real K-8 Charter School, but the latter is at the former Highlander campus which may have another public school planned for the site and therefore could be denied by the board. The board is also being asked to renew the charter for the Gifted Academy of Mathematics and Entrepreneurial Studies.
Meanwhile, also on the agenda for Tuesday are three violations at charter schools, for Clemente Charter School, Ingenium Charter Middle School and Ingenium Charter Elementary School. The violations include fiscal mismanagement, violations of law and other concerns that the LAUSD staff found.
Independent charter schools are publicly funded but privately managed schools. Most employ non-union teachers, and the school board’s oversight of them is limited. The board can approve or deny new charter applications, and every five years existing charters must be re-approved. The board’s decisions by state law are to be based essentially on if a charter school has a sound educational plan, sound management and its financial situation is in order.
Already, LA Unified has 221 independent charter schools, which is the most of any school district in the country. And many more may be on the way through a new private group, Greater Public Schools Now (GPS Now), which plans a major expansion of school funding.
The school board meeting has a closed session beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday and a later meeting at 1 p.m.

* Updated to reflect that Magnolia now says it does not plan to resubmit its applications, and to include information about its settlement with LAUSD.
Craig Clough contributed to this story

Caprice Young sour grapes and unprofessionalism decides to threaten school districts with lawfare

Caprice Young the sad face of
once was a promising career.

Caprice Young we challenge you on your LIES in this article, you and Magnolia Science Academies are the
ones with no accountabilty.  You state "Magnolia has 3,400 students across 11 schools and that there are hundreds
of students on waiting lists"  How can this be when your enrollment has never been at capacity, in fact Magnolia #4, #5 are not even at capacity barely near 180 students.  Here is a novel suggestion for you:  Stop lying about these schools being high performing, they are not. Furthermore stop being in a rush to build more schools for bond money and other start up seed money when you have a horrid capacity record.  Your numbers don't warrant it. 
In an unprecedented move by any California school board, all five members of the Anaheim Union High School District board and the superintendent called for a statewide moratorium on all public charter schools last month.
They based their call on the tired argument by opponents that too many, in their words, “operate in the shadows with no transparency, no accountability, and no public review.”
The Anaheim leadership singled out Magnolia Public Schools, a group of eleven high-quality science academies I now lead. The school board went so far as to falsely accuse Magnolia of operating charter schools all over the nation and being controlled by Turkish nationals.
These statements are incorrect. The Anaheim Union board members and superintendent didn’t do their basic homework. As former president of the board for California’s largest school district, I have known these schools well since they submitted their first charter petition to Los Angeles Unified 14 years ago.
(Editors Note: Click here to read a copy of a Magnolia demand letter to AUHSD.)  SEE RESPONSE BELOW
In my nearly two decades of experience in public education, I’d be hard-pressed to find another school system that has been reviewed, audited and examined more than Magnolia Public Schools.
The State of California conducted an exhaustive audit of Magnolia schools in 2015 and simply found an organization that was financially solvent. The independent statewide investigative body even went so far as to praise Magnolia for having academically well-performing schools. Having Anaheim Union generate this hoopla reminds me of one of Winston Churchill’s finest: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
The State of California reaffirmed its confidence in Magnolia this year by investing in its continued growth with $17.4 million toward a new state-of-the-art facility in Santa Ana. State of California who approved this? the people the Gulenists took on Turkey trips? Perhaps CCSA lobbying helped to facilitate this.  One could say that the State of California needs to be held to a higher standard. 
What allows charters—public schools that are held strictly accountable to meeting high academic and operational standards while complying with federal and state laws—to overcome the charges of critics has been their strong academic performance, particularly within low-income communities.
The most recent study, a 2015 analysis of urban charter schools by researchers at Stanford University, found that charter schools provided significantly higher levels of annual learning growth in both math and reading than their traditional public school peers, and particularly larger gains for Black, Latino, low-income and special-education students.
Charters are helping the broader school systems in which they operate serve families more successfully, so a call for a moratorium, which is an indictment against all charters, simply makes no sense.
But this unprecedented call by Anaheim Union came without the input of the public that would be most affected by the decision. Anaheim Union is ignoring state law to the detriment of the community by proposing to deny them access to new high-quality public school choices in their community.
The Anaheim school board took a significant, potentially illegal public policy position that can affect thousands of its neediest students based on false premises. But what’s ironic is the very position they took was done without public input or discussion and did not take place at a school board hearing where it could be subject to public scrutiny.
Instead, it was coordinated in secrecy, resulting in a violation of public trust and governance, and even blindsided the respected Orange County Office of Education. So much for Anaheim’s charge of operating “in the shadows with no transparency, no accountability, and no public review.”
Our hope is that the Anaheim board will do right by families and embrace the opportunity for collaboration. Here’s why. Magnolia is successfully serving more than 3,400 students and we have hundreds on our waiting list.
Anaheim Union just needs to look at the evidence. Each year, we send anywhere between 92 to 99 percent of our students to some of the best colleges in the U.S. Last year, 65 percent of our graduates became first-generation college attendees. Our students are winning the top prizes in the most prestigious robotics and math competitions in the nation. These are predominantly low-income White, Latino, African-American kids, who now are well on their way toward achieving their full potential.
The school district needs what we offer and we want to help. This success is why enthusiastic Anaheim families and community members have come to us expressing their desire for a new public high school to open.
When you look across California and the nation, forward-thinking, cutting-edge school districts are embracing charter schools as part of their solution. These school districts that choose to incorporate charter schools into their reform efforts have seen first-hand that when you give kids and parents access to a quality education, everyone wins and all schools rise to a higher level.
Let’s expect more from our educational leaders. We did not elect them to make legally questionable public policy decisions in secrecy that are not in the best interest of the thousands of families in their own community. Listen to those who elected you into office, be open and transparent about your actions and make decisions based on what will allow students to thrive. Let their futures drive your decisions. Years from now, it’s them you’ll be answering to.
Caprice Young is the CEO and Superintendent of Magnolia Public Schools, a network of 11 high-performing public charter schools that serves 3,400 students in Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara and San Diego Counties. She is a longtime public education leader and former Los Angeles Unified school board president.
Anaheim Union High School District Board members wrote an earlier Op-ed calling for a moratorium on charter schools like Magnolia. 
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana, Jr. at
Dear Caprice:  STFU. 

 Response from Educational Law advocate open letter to Daniel Woods Attorney for Magnolia Science Academy

BTW Go fuck yourself
 From: *****
Subject: Open letter to Dan Woods regarding the Gülen Network's Magnolia Charter Schools
Date: February 02, 2016 14:22:46 PST
Mr. Woods:
Just read your heavy-handed letter [1] to Arthur M. Pakowitz, Esq.
As a courtesy I wanted to address some of your concerns, which are clearly based in your ignorance regarding both privately managed charter schools, and the shadowy Gülen cult that your client is associated with.
Regarding your insistence that the Magnolia corporate charter school chain's financial information is transparent. This simply isn't the case, and it wasn't until the public school district called for an audit that one was conducted. Said audits revealed millions of "missing, misused funds" [2]. These were public dollars, squandered under the private management of your client.
You then make the absurd assertion that "Magnolia's eleven charter schools are public schools…" In case you actually believe that misrepresentation, let me disabuse you.
Generally charter schools are not public schools. Both existing case law and public policy have long established this. The Washington State Supreme Court (2015) held that charter schools are not "common schools" because they're governed by appointed rather than elected boards. The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals (2010) ruled that charter schools are not "public actors." The California Court of Appeals (2007) ruled that charter schools are not "public agents." The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) joined many other government agencies in unequivocally determining that charters are, in NLRB's words, "private entities."
By definition if a charter school is run by a for-profit company, or a (501c3) non-profit corporation (e.g. Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation), then it is not a public school. The United States Census Bureau frames this issue best: "A few "public charter schools" are run by public universities and municipalities. However, most charter schools are run by private nonprofit organizations and are therefore classified as private." [3]
Because these lucrative charter schools are not public, and are not subject to even a modicum of public oversight, they are able to get away with violating the constitutional rights of their students. The decision in Scott B. v. Board of Trustees of Orange County High School of the Arts saw Rosa K. Hirji, Esq. write: "The structures that allow charter schools to exist are marked by the absence of protections that are traditionally guaranteed by public education, protections that only become apparent and necessary when families and students begin to face a denial of what they were initially promised to be their right." [4]
Lastly, there is ample documentation tying the Magnolia corporate charter school chain to the Gülenist Movement, namely through their intertwinement with the Los Angeles based Pacifica Institute—a Gülen organization which denies the 1915-1918 Armenian genocide. [5] Moreover, Fethullah Gülen's ties to the Magnolia charter schools was reported to Turkish readers as early as 2010. [6]
Far be it for me to do your research for you, but as a courtesy I offer the following footnote [7] as starting point for your own additional discovery.
I understand that the model rules of professional conduct call upon you to vigorously represent your client's interests, but one would expect an attorney of your standing to at least base your arguments in a modicum of reality. I suppose in a way I owe you and your firm a debt of gratitude inasmuch as you provide examples of the type of attorney I don't want to be—seemingly ones that hold billable hours more important than the public interest.

Advocating Public Education and Social Justice
Robert D. Skeels
Juris Doctor Candidate
UCLA '14, PCL '18
"Problem posing education does not and cannot serve the interests of the oppressor" — Paulo Freire