It looks like the proposed Gulen-inspired Academy of Business Entrepreneurship Charter School (BECS) meeting before the SDL school board in Lancaster got a little too hot – so hot in fact that the cops were called in to settle the two sides down before fisticuffs started flying.
Before we delve into the actual comedy of the meeting itself, the part that is really puzzling – at least to me, is exactly how kindergartner through fourth graders are going to benefit from a school that “would emphasize business and entrepreneurial skills," and as introduced in the charter application -- shadowing or interning at the Godiva chocolate company (owned by a Gulenist). Now that's a literal interpretation of the "kid in the candy store" idiom.
Okay, so perhaps the five-year olds are going to learn how to promote “naptime,” as a national pastime or in between learning the alphabet and color charts -- trade stocks. It’s plausible that after recess, the first graders might just be able to balance the national deficit.
How did this ludicrous proposal get this far? Were there are few free trips to Turkey waiting in the wings, or some campaign dollars greasing political palms?
But back to the “almost fight,” that brought the cops into the board meeting. It’s a little too late for Sait Onal, the BECS board president to be apologizing. It was a very bad move indeed when Onal, who wants to open a school with US taxpayer funds called the parents (that would be the people footing the bill), liars.
Liars – is a word commonly used in connection with the Gulenists, as they have fine-tuned the art of lying, and mastered its delivery to a science. It’s a funny thing about liars, and in particular the Gulenists, they always try and turn the tables on the innocents in an attempt to disguise their own guilt and lies – the classic wag the dog tactic.
The positive outcome: Onal did the public an enormous favor with his outburst and accusations – he slipped up and displayed what the Gulenists are really all about.
The negative outcome: Onal will have to be sent back to training camp and be reprogrammed, because he obviously strayed from the Gulen tenements of constraint and diplomacy – but to his benefit, it looks like he still has the lying part down pat.
Below is the article written by Brian Wallace from Lancaster Online and published on Feb. 20, 2013:
Police called to wild school board hearing on charter school proposal
Lancaster city police were called to McCaskey High School late Tuesday night when a hearing on a proposed Lancaster city charter school got out of hand.
Verbal arguments broke out between supporters and opponents after the school's founding board president accused a parent of lying and verbally accosted another parent before walking out of the hearing.
The board president, Sait Onal, apologized for his behavior.
After four hours of testimony, the hearing was extended to next week, with no decision rendered.
Backers of the Academy of Business Entrepreneurship Charter School are seeking SDL school board approval of a charter so the school can open in the fall on Laurel Street.
The Academy would emphasize business and entrepreneurial skills and initially enroll students in kindergarten through grade four, expanding by one grade per year in future years.
The hearing attracted about 60 people to the high school cafeteria. Of the 20 members of the public who spoke, 15 opposed the school.
Assistant SDL superintendent Tracy Ocasio criticized the school's application, saying it lacked specifics on what would be taught and how academic goals would be measured.
The curriculum's emphasis on business instruction would leave limited time for reading and writing, she said, and many subjects would not be aligned with the state Common Core academic standards that take effect in 2013-14.
The school also would not provide a program of instruction significantly different from what SDL schools already offer, Ocasio said.
Harold Kurtz, an educational consultant hired by the school's founders, defended the curriculum, saying schools that use it have experienced "dramatic improvement" in student test scores, behavior and motivation.
Some of Ocasio's statements about the curriculum "were not accurate or were distorted," he said.
The flaws cited in the application can be corrected, said Kurtz, who vowed the school would continue to pursue a charter through the appeals process if the school board votes against its application.
"Don't think for a minute that we're going to go away, because we're not," he said.
Several SDL students and parents praised the district's schools and said the Academy would not provide better opportunities for students. Others complained that the school would drain about $2 million in tuition payments from SDL's tight budget.
One district resident supported the proposal, saying parents need an alternative to SDL schools, which fare poorly on many academic measures compared with other schools in the state.
Three parents mentioned how several organizations, including Free Enterprise Inc. and Economics Pennsylvania, have withdrawn their letters of support for The Academy because of concerns about the application.
Jackie Mullin, an SDL parent and teacher who lives on West Chestnut Street, suggested the charter school's supporters were "not very truthful" in getting organizations to support the proposal.
"Why do you lie?" Onal responded.
The next speaker, John McGrann, another SDL parent who lives on West Chestnut, prompted another outburst from Onal.
McGrann admonished Onal for submitting three substandard applications for charter schools.
In addition to the Academy application, Onal was founding board member for Lancaster Science Academy, rejected by the SDL board in 2008, and was involved in a similar failed charter proposal in Harrisburg in 2005.
"This is the third time, and you still can't get it right," McGrann said, turning to Onal, who was seated nearby. "You failed that responsibility, and why that should entitle you to get this school started is beyond me."
When Onal tried to respond, McGrann told him not to interrupt.
"What are you gonna do?" Onal said.
"Don't interrupt," McGrann replied.
"What are you gonna do?" Onal said, his voice rising. "How can he talk to me like this? How can he turn and talk to me like this?"
SDL solicitor Robert Frankhouser admonished Onal and ordered him to sit down.
"I apologize. I'm gonna leave right now," Onal said, walking out of the cafeteria.
A moment later he returned.
"You do yourself a disservice and a disservice to your organization," Frankhouser told Onal. "I understand you're passionate about your application, but to be this disrespectful to this board is outrageous."
The hearing was briefly suspended "so we can collect ourselves," Frankhouser said.
At that point, an argument broke out between charter school supporters and opponents in the rear of the audience. Superintendent Pedro Rivera walked over to warn people they would be ejected if they did not settle down, and someone called the police.
Two city officers arrived, but there were no further incidents.
The hearing resumed briefly but was ended around 11 p.m. and will resume at 7 p.m. Tuesday at McCaskey High School.
The SDL board has until March 31 to vote on the charter request.