Will make your nose grow
A few days ago after the CBS 60 Minutes story on the Gulen-inspired charter schools aired, Channel 31 out of Peoria did an interview with Engin Blackstone, aka Engin Karatas, the Principal at Concept Schools Peoria Quest Charter Academy. In the videotaped interview, Karatas/Blackstone denies having any affiliation with Gulen, stating that he “In no way, has any connection.”
That was either a tactical error on Blackstone’s part, or a sudden case of amnesia. Either way, it is a fact that Blackstone, along with three other Concept employees, made a pilgrimage to visit Gulen at his Poconos “retreat.” In fact, the trip taken in June 2007, required the men to rent a car and remove the cell phone batteries from their respective telephones (now that information alone makes one wonder...).
The guys are experts at denying their association, but this time – they – or more specifically – Blackstone, told a really big fib that can -- and will be -- documented as not being a truthful statement.
And as a side note, did Blackstone ever legally change his name from Karatas to Blackstone and/or get a teaching or administator’s license – yet? Just wondering, we like to know the real identities and licensure status of our school administrators, how about you?
Below is the clip and story on Blackstone’s interview.
“PEORIA-The CBS news magazine '60 Minutes' aired a report last night investigating the connection between U.S. charter schools and a mysterious Turkish imam.
Part of the report focused on a woman who used to work for Concept Schools, Inc., the company that manages Peoria's Quest Charter Academy.
WMBD's Eugene Daniel spoke with officials at Quest Charter Academy in a story you'll only see here on Channel 31.
Principal Engin Blackstone says Quest Charter Academy, in no way, has any connection with controversial Turkish imam, Fethullah Gulen.
Sunday, '60 minutes' reported about numerous U.S. charter schools which have connections to Gulen. The report featured a woman who used to work with Blackstone at a school in Ohio. The school was managed by Concept Schools Inc. The woman claims the schools hire teachers from Turkey who are connected with Fethullah Gulen and use the schools to make money.
Concept Schools was contacted by '60 Minutes' in January about the allegations. Concept Schools maintains those allegations are false and have no evidence.”
Blackstone tells us he has no connection to Gulen and neither does Concept Schools Inc.
"We are here every single day and hour for our students. And make this a beautiful opportunity for them. So we are doing what we were going. This news piece was out there, but hey as you mention these are allegations. We are doing our work and we have nothing to do with it," Blackstone said.
Glen Barton, board president of Peoria Charter Schools, says the board conducted an investigation into the allegations, twice. The board of directors feels confident there is no connection between Concept Schools and Gulen.
We asked Concept Schools about a school trip some Quest students made to Turkey. Concept says it's just one of many trips it offers, and doesn't have anything to do with the Turkish imam.”