Special Education & Gulen Charter Schools
Page created June 2010; last updated Oct 3, 2012
"For instance, serving students with special needs is not an efficient way of using limited resources. .…The trend of increased services for equity purposes has coincided with the steady decrease in the efficiency and productivity of public education in the last several decades." - Ibrahim Duyar et al., 2009 (in "Educational Leadership: Global Contexts and International Comparisons," A. W. Wiseman, Editor). Ibrahim Duyar was Co-Founder and Director of Wisconsin Career Academy (Gulen charter school that converted to a private school in 2012 after 10 years of operation); Co-Founder of LISA Academy (Gulen charter school in Arkansas); and Consultant for Dove Science Academy (Gulen charter school in Oklahoma). He is currently a professor of educational leadership at the University of Arkansas Little Rock.
One pattern that emerges in all Gulen charter schools is a chronic failure to comply with state regulations on special education. It is likely that the Gulenists have calculated that the reputation they achieve with their test scores and math competition awards will allow them to get away with flaunting these laws.
Here is some documentation of these problems across Gulen schools, although it is important to note that most parents of children who have not received the services they are legally entitled to will never enter an official complaint.
Dove Science Academy, Tulsa OK
Tulsa World Oct 26, 2009
Tulsa school board ends charter with Dove Science Academy
“Citing concerns about services for special education students and the legality of consequences for certain behavior infractions, the Tulsa school board voted unanimously Monday to end its sponsorship of Dove Science Academy, one of the city’s longest-operating charter schools.”
Coral Academy of Science, Las Vegas, NV
Nevada Department of Education May 28, 2009
Complaint Investigation, Coral Academy of Science Charter School, #CASLV052809
On 5/28/09 the Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction received a complaint dated 5/23/09 from a special education teacher (complainant) alleging violations of special education law with respect to the operation of the Coral Academy of Science Charter School (CASLV) where she was employed. An investigation team was appointed to examine the allegations that CASLV: 1) had an unsafe environment for some students because of some incidents that occurred; 2) allowed a parent to bully the complainant on various occasions; 3) engaged in testing irregularities during the administration of proficiency exams in spring 2009; 4) inappropriately assigned the complainant to teach physical education; 5) screened out students with disabilities from the school’s entry selection process; 6) did not implement certain students’ individualized educational programs (IEPs) in the area of English; 7) did not conduct child find activities upon referral, specifically screening; 8) did not provide testing accommodations for special education students during the administration of proficiency exams in spring 2009 and specifically did not provide testing in a small group setting, other than the regular classroom.
Nevada State Board of Education. Oct 11, 2008.
Minutes of the Regular Meeting
Regarding Coral Academy of Science-Las Vegas, Mr. Arensdorf reported it was patterned after the Coral Academy in Reno and that the report was on their first year of operation. The school was now in its second year of operation. Mr. McCormack reported there were a number of non-compliant issues with Special Education and teacher licensing. The Special Education issues have been resolved for the meantime, but there was still some confusion as to whether or not item 19 listed on page 335 has been resolved. One major concern was the school’s automated student information system. It is required the system be in operation by the first day of the second school year, but there are still problems with the system. Staff is working with the school regarding the issue because that information was also needed by the federal government. Mr. Arensdorf clarified correction action was needed regarding Special Education corrections and that the school was given until September 30, 2008 to submit a corrective action plan as listed on page 344, which they have done and which will be monitored during the next school year. He noted their records currently show three teachers have passed the Praxis tests and two teachers have not.
Beehive Science and Technology Academy
Salt Lake Tribune April 30, 2010
State charter board votes to close Beehive academy
“Beehive was placed on a one-year probation in February, and Biyik said the school has complied with or made "substantial improvements" on all the issues the board identified. For example, the school has addressed concerns with its special-education program.”
Chesapeake Science Point, Hanover MD
Maryland Gazette Mar 1, 2008 Elisabeth Hulette
Chesapeake Science Point escapes with caveat
“The charter school has met those requirements by hiring two special education teachers and submitting a lease and financial plan to the school system, and that is enough to keep the school from closing, according to Dr. Maxwell's latest recommendation. (…) But other problems found in the site review, including trouble with special education and payroll, still need to be fixed, said schools spokesman Bob Mosier.”
The Examiner Feb 23, 2008 Josh Kowalkowski
Chesapeake Point Charter’s fate up to the school board
“One month ago, Superintendent Kevin Maxwell gave the Hanover school until Feb. 23 to “cure” several shortcomings at the school, including hiring and retaining a qualified special education teacher and submitting plans on how it utilizes program spaces.”
Maryland Gazette Jan 26, 2008 Elisabeth Hulette
Charter school gets 30 days to shape up
The county Board of Education set the clock this week on the fate of Chesapeake Science Point, giving the county's last remaining charter school one month to fix some management problems before a vote that could shut it down. The school in Hanover needs to hire a certified special education teacher,…
Baltimore Sun April 06, 2007 Ruma Kumar
Charter school works to stay afloat: Officials to review critical audit, fiscal woes at Chesapeake Science
Chesapeake Science Point, haunted by critical audits since it opened five days late in August 2005, has had trouble meeting the county school system's standards in special education, student records and reporting, personnel and fiscal matters. (…)Most of Chesapeake school officials' attention has been spent on improving services for students with learning disabilities. Recent audits showed the school had kept weak records of students' progress and had not scheduled conferences between teachers and parents to discuss new modes of instruction for these students.
Minnesota School of Science, Minneapolis MN
As reported by the Twin Cities Daily Planet, July 24 , 2012 (link):
"Last week, the families of 40 Minneapolis students with significant special needs received an unwelcome phone call. The promise that their children would be able to return to their North Minneapolis classrooms when school starts in just over a month would be broken. The children, who have disabilities such as autism and Downs syndrome that make transitions particularly difficult, will not be welcomed back to the one-year-old charter Minnesota School of Science, which took over the district's Cityview Elementary School in August 2011."
"The charter’s goal is for 90 percent of its academically struggling, mostly low-income and non-white students to earn proficient scores on state tests within three years. 'To bring children to that level of growth and then to have in addition that other challenge, it seemed like more than we could handle. We didn’t know if we could be successful.' "