Harmony charter school network cleared of wrongdoing


The Texas Education Agency has cleared Harmony Public Schools of any wrongdoing after the Turkish government accused Texas’ largest public charter school network of sketchy hiring practices and nepotism in awarding multimillion dollar contracts.

“I have been working with charter schools in Texas for 20 years, and I have never seen anything like this. That a foreign country would attack a U.S. public school system and waste taxpayers’ dollars by requesting a state review of 42 pages of phony accusations is simply wrong,” said Robert Schulman, counsel for Harmony Public Schools.

READ: Dispute over Texas charter school network involves Turkish government

Robert Amsterdam, an attorney representing Turkey, filed a 32-page complaint to the TEA in May about the state’s largest public charter school network, whose founders are Turkish-American. The document details accusations of discriminatory employment and unethical contract bidding practices, and ties to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of trying to overthrow the Turkish government.

The TEA released its findings Friday, saying that only two claims warranted an investigation and that the agency couldn’t find any wrongdoing regarding Harmony’s project procurement methods nor did Harmony use Texas public money for an Arkansas charter school network.

GET THE DAY’S LATEST NEWS: Click here to sign up for our Afternoon Updates email

Amsterdam said in a news release that he will request other state agencies look at Harmony.

“If the TEA is unable to investigate these egregious abuses by Harmony Public Schools, then we must refer the matter to other state authorities,”

Harmony’s chief executive officer, Soner Tarim, has told the American-Statesman that the charter network — which has 46 campuses in Texas including six in Austin — was unfairly targeted.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Iran tests new ballistic missile
Iran tests new ballistic missile

Iran tested a new ballistic missile that reportedly is capable of carrying multiple warheads, CNN reported Saturday, citing the nation's state-run broadcaster announced. >> Read more trending news “Iran has released footage of the successful test-launch of its new ballistic missile, Khorramshahr, a few hours after it was unveiled during...
Memo: Seattle officer bragged that 'mini Mafia' controlled off-duty contracts
Memo: Seattle officer bragged that 'mini Mafia' controlled off-duty contracts

As an FBI investigation into Seattle’s off-duty police work unfolds, additional claims of questionable tactics by officers have emerged, including a report that one policeman proudly called his fellow officers a “mini Mafia” in the way they secured, enforced, and collected on private security and traffic contracts in the booming city...
Trump touts transparency on Twitter
Trump touts transparency on Twitter

President Donald Trump has no intention of scaling back his Twitter presence.  >> Read more trending news The president, campaigning for fellow Republican Luther Strange in Alabama on Friday night, touted his provocative and sometimes controversial tweets, CNN reported. "That is the great thing about Twitter," Trump said during...
Texas students told ‘It’s the law’ to stand for Pledge of Allegiance
Texas students told ‘It’s the law’ to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

A presentation telling students that they have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because it's the law has caused controversy at a Texas high school, the Houston Chronicle reported. >> Read more trending news  Juniors and seniors at Midland High School were given a presentation on the Pledge of Allegiance earlier this month...
Police: New Orleans mayoral candidate facing lewd conduct charge
Police: New Orleans mayoral candidate facing lewd conduct charge

A New Orleans mayoral candidate was arrested on a charge of lewd conduct after police said he was found with his pants pulled down in the back of an Uber in Santa Monica, Calif., Nola.com reported. >> Read more trending news Frank Scurlock was picked up on a charge of public masturbation in February, police said. Terry White, a deputy...
More Stories