Public Charter School Funds Under Scrutiny
By Tanya Hutchinson
Two NBC 4 viewers contacted the station, asking us to look into allegations that Ohio taxpayer money was being used to recruit teachers overseas, specifically Turkey.
The Ohio Federation of Teachers showed NBC 4 a lease for a Horizon School in Dayton, whose landlord has a Turkish mailing address. The President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers wants to know if the rent money is actually going to Turkey. She also wants to know why Turkish teachers are employed by Horizon.
"At a time of high unemployment in Ohio, when teachers have been laid off, teachers coming out of college can't find jobs. Why would we be importing teachers and administrators from Turkey when Ohioans don't have jobs?" questioned Sue Taylor, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
The Ohio Coalition for Quality Education doesn't think there should be restrictions on where teachers come from or where public charter schools are located. "They do recruit some of their teachers from Turkey because they have, frankly, high quality teachers in Math and Science in Turkey," said Ron Adler, President and Founder.
About 10% of teachers who work for Concept Schools are international. The Vice President says taxpayer money is not used to recruit teachers overseas. "That does not make it a Turkish school, nor an Islamic school. These are public schools serving students who need those services the most," said Salim Ucan. He said Concept Schools are some of the highest-performing schools in the country.
"I've monitored and provided technical assistance to Concept Schools since 1998 and I can say without hesitation that these schools are of the highest quality, hardworking, and they achieve wonderful results with their students. They are an exceptionally good investment of our public dollars," said Patricia Hughes, Director of the Community School division for Buckeye Hope Foundation, one of Horizon's sponsors in Ohio.
Concept Schools is based in Chicago. The Ohio Attorney General's Office has no record of complaints against the company or Horizon Science Academies.