Thursday, June 05, 2014

Feds Investigating Indiana Math & Science Academy

Agents for the FBI, U.S. Department of Education and the FCC raided the Indiana Math & Science Academy's north campus in Indianapolis yesterday afternoon according to WRTV. Investigators hauled away boxes of documents according to the report. Katherine Beckwith, a spokesperson for the school, released a statement indicating that the investigation pertained to an ongoing audit of the school's use of e-rate technology grants:
Earlier this week we were asked to provide information to U.S. Department of Education officials as part of a larger federal audit of e-rate technology grants. Those officials indicated they are auditing the funds dispersed to various schools to verify that work paid for with e-rate grants was completed as reported. We were happy to provide them with records and supporting materials detailing how e-rate grants were spent at our IMSA North school, so that they can successfully complete their audit.
The e-rate technology grants allow qualified schools to obtain discounted telecommunications, Internet and internal network services. The grants in question are funded by universal service fees all telecommunications users pay for their telephone service. The federal government has conducted a number of investigations across the country in recent years involving fraud with the grant program. In some cases, the money is misused to buy computer equipment.

Two years ago, the former owner of two technology companies in Illinois was sentenced to prison for 30 months after she was found guilty of providing bribes and kickbacks to several school officials and employees responsible for procuring bids for Internet access services under the federal E-Rate program. The fraud involved schools in several states, including Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and Louisiana. The Justice Department found that, in return for the bribes and kickbacks, school employees ceded control of the E-Rate competitive bidding process to Gloria Harper, the former co-owner of Global Networking Technologies and former owner of Computer Training Associates, allowing her to ensure E-Rate contracts at the affected schools were awarded to her companies.

The Indiana Math & Science Academy's schools in Indianapolis are charter schools authorized by the Indianapolis Mayor's office and backed by the Gulen Movement, which was founded by a controversial Turkish Islamic cleric, Fethulla Gulen, and which has been responsible for establishing charter schools all over the United States. The school is managed by Concept Schools, Inc., a Chicago-based not-for profit company affiliated with the Gulen Movement, which was established for the purpose of managing and providing consulting services to affiliated charter schools. The Math & Science Academy's board of directors, according to the school's website, includes: Kent Millard, retired pastor of St. Lukes; Bilal Eksili, executive director of the Gulen-affiliated Niagara Foundation; Pat Bacon, HR director for DePauw University; Brenda Shaheed, Vice President of Student Affairs at Martin University; Nancy Spohn of Spohn Associates; Robert French of First Construction Consulting; and Murat Dundar, a computer science professor at IUPUI.

UPDATE: Watch U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks pander to the Math & Science Academy operator during remarks on the floor of the House.

10 comments:

Indy Rob said...

A typical scam with charter schools is to set up a charter (normally initiated by the not-for-profit management foundation) , staff the board with recognizable local names (not the people who are hands on, but the ones who like keeping their name out in public) , and run the school using another not-for-profit management company where excessive salaries are paid to the president, and other officers.

The business with diverting funds to a different use is minor compared to the actual funds send to the not-for-profit management company.

indglass said...

Indy Rob, you are absolutely right. First the public education profiteers took over the text books, then came the standardized tests, and then the consulting firms designed to take more taxpayer money by promising higher scores on those tests. Then people started creating overpriced, poor quality technology services, which they sold to schools where they had strong personal ties to the administrators. Finally, they figured out that through the charter school system they could take over the schools themselves, plugging directly into the state's education funding to take all the money they need. Almost the entire public education model today is centered around profits for these various special interests. I do believe that most teachers, administrators, and school board members are in it for the kids, but they are coerced by the state-level politicians into serving the corporations instead. With IMSA, Guien, and these tech companies, you see several of these layers of corruption all piled on each other. This system provides millions of dollars for the education profiteers, and here is what it provides for the children: Indiana Math & Science Academy 2012-2013 Report Card

Anonymous said...

Brenda Shaheed is judge shaheeds wife. Its amazing how many crooked not for profits these judges spouses sit on and work for.

indglass said...

Here is another example in today's news about a corporation taking part in a corrupt education bidding process. I wonder how history will describe the direction that politicians are moving public education right now. I have a feeling there will be some terms like "the lost generation" or "the children left behind."

The Perimeter Primate said...

The feds raided the Gulen charter school in Baton Rouge last December. Charges have not yet been pressed.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/fbi-raids-us-charter-school-linked-turkish-islamic-gulen-movement-1429343

diana mills said...

Indglass- the link for the report card is not for IMSA North. We are an A school this year. I believe it was a B last year and A prior to that. With my grandson attending this school and carrying a 4.0 who loves the school and teachers to say that the whole school is no good is an ignorant statement. Every generation of every race in every group has bad apples so based on your logic that would mean every generation of every race in every group is no good. That in and of itself defies basic logic which nullifies your statement. Point is that why the school may have bad apples, that the school will address, it does not mean the whole school is corrupt or worthless.

Vanessa Kachadurian Armenian Heros said...

Hey Diana does your grandson wear Turkish costumes and sing/dance in Turkish like the other trained monkeys at the 130 Gulen Operated schools. You mention "we" in your post, sounds like more Hizmet BS slamming comment boards. Let me warn you, all computers are being confiscated and e forensics completed on all computers including communication to Chicago (Niagara Foundation) Concept Schools and to Saylorsburg, PA. So Miss Diana, to defend this school because your little johnny or suzie is getting "good grades" means nothing except Hizmet is keen on idenitify kids and families that will be their poster board of success if they give their kids or grandkids good grades. Lets see how your little johnny does once he is back in a regular public school or on his college entrance exams without the cheating and fabricating of test scores.

Anonymous said...

Whatever has gone on definitely impacts many people. There are some amazing teachers at the school, and I hate that people want to blame the entire building for anything that may or may not have happened. There are innocent people in this situation. My hope is that those who strive to be the best teachers they can be are able to rise above any drama, and that they can continue to show children what it means to persevere.

Lisa Jenifer said...

one think i want to discuss is individuals not prepared in training who does not comprehend social sciences and instruction doing as heads in the training service? Why do legislative issues have a hold in training when they shouldn't have? the teacher's are week in a Math subject and they have no idea how to teach a math Online Math Practice, they are failed in a math and fraction but they are teacher and they taught the student which they have known.

diana mills said...

First let me start off by noting that my reason for stating my comments about my "little johnny" are based on his exceptionally high I-Step scores, not his 4.0 from school. Also, there is no Turkish dress up or dance that I am aware of although he is learning Spanish as it seems THAT is more in line with what is needed to progress in his field of Astrology. As you apparently aren't taking issue with most of my original comment it does appear as you believe that because my grandson is doing academically well, according to the state of Indiana, that I am aware and am in fact part of a huge conspiracy with the Cullen movement and beliefs. While I realize that by assuring you that is in fact NOT the case, you will assume so anyway as ignorance is bliss.

Deflect all you want but not everyone in that school system is a part nor do they condone these allegations if they are in fact true. We just won't stand by as the good teachers get thrown under the bus or let you imply that all children in that school system arent intellegent so that you can continue your ignorant narrative.