I did promise myself not to pen any response to Donna Garner’s odd and baseless claims disguised as an expert, but she has recently been going too far that I think someone needs to step up and write a response to these worthless claims so that people should not get confused. I know many people do not take Ms. Garner seriously, but I am concerned about the rest who could potentially be distracted by her “expert-looking” discourse which arises as a result of a helter-skelter approach.
She has written a lot about charter schools, especially Harmony Schools, lately. Therefore, out of her many posts, I selected two of them for you to show how she manipulates, plagiarizes and distorts the facts. By the way, I took these excerpts from her “Liberty Linked” blog.
- On her first post (dated December 7), she refers to another post dated November 21 in which she accuses Harmony Schools of putting a sentence in the bid proposal for an upcoming Harmony School construction. Here is that sentence: "The Owner [Cosmos Foundation, Inc.] reserves the right to reject any or all bids, to waive any informality in a bid, and to make awards in the best interest of the Owner." This is a standard bidding sentence. For example, if you Google this expression ("reserves the right to reject any or all bids"). You will see millions of results. Same goes with the other statements/expressions in the sentence. Donna Garner knows nothing about standard bidding processes and she just accuses Harmony of putting standard sentences to bidding proposal. What she does here is accusing for the sake of accusing.
- In the very same referenced post, which was published twice (probably due to its importance (!)), we read this sentence: “Fethullah Gulen is an Islamist imam who is considered by many to be the "most dangerous man in the world." This clumsy sentence deserves several questions:
1) Which group of people do you mean Ms. Garner by saying “many”? Who are those “many” people? Can one of them be Paul Williams, who uses the same sentence in his blog which is not inactive due to unknown reasons? By the way, Paul Williams is sued by Canadian McMaster University for his claim that terrorists (!) stole some nuclear material from the facilities of the university. Even his publisher apologized from the university.
2) Did you deliberately use the word Islamist? In what sense did you use it Ms. Garner? In the sense of “political Islam”? If so, can you show me one specific activity or example where Mr. Gulen was engaged in political Islam? Or do you label all pious Muslims as “Islamist”?
3) When Mr. Williams uttered this expression, Bin Laden was still alive. So, do you think Mr. Gulen is more dangerous than Bin Laden or Bin Laden’s terrorist successors? If so, how come has Mr. Gulen obtained a permanent residence in America? If Gulen is more dangerous than all terrorists in the world, he must be engaging with some illegal or terrorist activity as well. Can you show me one specific occasion where Mr. Gulen encouraged people to engage in terrorist activity? Or any incident that took place after Mr. Gulen’s encouragement?
4) Why did not you give credit to Mr. Williams when you used this sentence? Moreover, why did not you put any footnote or endnote when you copied some parts of Ms. Krispin’s article verbatim in the same post? Did you pass the classes in college by committing the same activity of plagiarism?
5) Just tell me one concrete (not hypothetical) incident so that we can confirm that Mr. Gulen is more dangerous than any other human being in the world.
- Ms. Garner also refers to the “Harmony Parent Truth” website, which is run by a California resident named Vanessa Kachadurian. As you might remember, Ms. Kachadurian’s chicanery has recently been exposed by a blogger, who calls himself/herself Goose Hunter. It turned out that this lady is of Armenian origin with deep-seated hatred towards the Turks. That is why; she runs several blogs, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts in which she does nothing other than defaming top-notch American charter schools just because there are some Turks working for them. Ms. Garner alludes to this lady as a “reliable reference”. Please visit Goose Network blog to find out more about the deceptions of Ms. Kachadurian, who claim to be a Texas resident even though she actually lives in California. Harmony Parent blog, run by a real Harmony parent, also wrote a good article about the real face of this fake blogger last month.
- The other post (dated December 9) is funnier than the first one. She starts it with a piece of news from El Paso about Harmony Schools. I watched the video Ms. Garner mentions and what I saw was two opposing parties one of which is represented by a Harmony parent and a student, while the other by Donna Garner. The interviewed student and the parent (whose son has been attending Harmony for three years) praise and say good things about Harmony Schools, while Donna Garner, a retired teacher who has never been to any of the Harmony campuses, utters completely false claims about Harmony. I will take a look at some of those false claims below:
- Donna Garner, in that news, just repeated the same claims that I had already refuted in my previous articles. For example, she is concerned about the teaching of our forefathers, our Constitution and other American values, but she ignores the fact that all Social Studies teachers at Harmony are local (American) teachers. Our Constitution is taught by American teachers unlike Ms. Garner’s claim. International teachers mostly teach Science and Math whose language is universal as we all know.
- The news also says “Donna Garner has been studying these schools for years”. Sorry, but can I kindly ask for how many years Ms. Garner has been studying these schools? 2? 5? Or for a decade? What is the earliest article Ms. Garner wrote about these schools? Let me answer this: It is 2010. How does she study these schools? By never visiting any one of them? By never talking to a teacher or administrator from Harmony? By creating imaginary parents and talking to them? What it is called “studying” is nothing but visiting inflammatory and defamatory fake blogs and copying deceptive information as well as plagiarizing web-based articles. This is the quasi-expertise of Ms. Garner. That is why; I called her, in my previous articles, a sciolist meaning someone who pretends to be an expert with his/her superficial knowledge.
- Another example of manipulation… “Garner also recalled a situation at a Harmony School performance in Texas, when students stomped on an American Flag”. A few months ago, in this article, I refuted this unfounded claim. Then principle of Waco made a statement that the students, as opposed to claims, put American flag on top of their heads let alone trampling it. If such a serious incident had really happened, the audience, consisting of Harmony parents, would have reacted to it and reported that incident to the authorities which in turn would finally hit the local papers' headlines. Since nothing was heard about this so-called incident, then we conceive that Garner is doing nothing but manipulation and distortion of the events. Besides, the event was taken place last year, but Ms. Garner presented it, on a radio show, as if it happened this year. Garner just makes up stories.
- Another pathetic claim… “It is certainly possible that an effort is being made by these Turkish/Islamic schools to indoctrinate our American children and “prep” them to become homegrown terrorists. The irony is that these Gulen charter schools are using our taxpayers’ dollars to do it.”
Actually “the irony” here is that Ms. Garner just puts irrelevant words side by side and tries to make a story out of them. As an “erudite” (!) scholar, she has no evidence (as usual) to back up her claims. Again, I need to ask Ms. Garner the same burning question: Can you spot a student who is “indoctrinated” at Harmony Schools with some terrorist ideas? How do you think students are indoctrinated? By using the same state-authorized textbooks along with the same curricula? Ms. Garner, you use such a sharp rhetoric that you even put your own comrades to shame.
I am fed up with refuting Ms. Garner’s claims, but she is not fed up with bringing the same dish to the table.
Maybe that is why she is not taken seriously. When we consider the latest federal grant to Harmony by the Department of Education, I have come to believe that the efforts of some anti-charter groups bear no fruit at all.
Next time, please bring realistic claims, Ms. Garner.
If you have any…