Donna Garner: A True Sciolist - 2

Donna Garner Brings Nonsensical Arguments

I will continue to give answers to Donna Garner’s groundless claims. In my last article, I briefly mentioned the superficial and wrong perceptions and knowledge from Donna Garner, who even lacks the basic information despite continuously labeling some charter schools as “Gulen Charter Schools”. Let's continue to answer Garner's weird claims.

Claim: “I received this note from a local pastor:

Hi Donna,
The local Harmony Science Academy is obviously one of these schools.  One of our church families had a daughter there, but the Muslim influence and foundation of beliefs and practices led them to remove her.

Thanks for bringing attention to this.
R.” (Taken from her article on ISD Initiative website dated February 10, 2011)

Answer: A dubious and obscure claim! First of all, there is no name mentioned here. No name of the pastor or Harmony School, having 33 campuses in Texas, is given. Why are you scared Ms. Garner? Do you think people will bug the pastor? Or are you just making up stories?

Looks like she is just making up brand-new stories. Besides, I can also write similar things about any school or any other organization. For example, something like this: “Hi Donna… The local elementary school here is one of these schools where you find child abuse. One of our church families had a son there, but the abusive manners of the teachers led me to remove my son.” Looks familiar right? Here I could have put the name of a famous elementary school and defamed their name.

Also, if there were to be such influence, brainwashing or similar practices, some other parents would definitely pull out their kids and that would hit the local and national headlines as well. Since it is illegal to teach religion in public schools, any contrary practice will put that school into trouble.

Before making an ambiguous claim, people should think twice, because these kinds of claims, without any backing factual data, could leave a permanent negative spot on the mentioned organizations.

Claim: Students at the so-called Gulen (charter) schools celebrate various Turkish Muslim holidays (taken from her Education News article dated March 24, 2011).

Answer: Superficial claims are abound. This was another one I came up while reading Donna Garner’s stories.

According to my research, there is no such Muslim celebration at Harmony Schools. Moreover, Donna Garner displays her ignorance again. The term “Turkish Muslim holidays”, if two Muslim religious festivals are meant (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha) by this, is something non-existent and somewhat ridiculous concept. Muslims have two major religious holidays and you do not have to bring the adjective “Turkish” in front of the Muslim Holidays. On the other hand, such a celebration requires the witness of a couple of hundred students and some parents, administrators and other community members. At the end of the day, one would leak this “mysterious” and “secret” event to the media, wouldn’t s/he?

All these things point to one fact: Donna Garner is a couple of miles away from the facts. She just makes up the stories and throws mud on people. I would expect her to closely investigate the issue she is working on.



Donna Garner: A True Sciolist - 1

The charter school controversy is going on full throttle and some charter schools, infamously called Gulen Charter Schools, have recently become a scapegoat in this process.  After revealing some information on Peggy Littleton, I have now turned my attention to other attackers. Recently, Donna Garner has made some buzz on Harmony Schools in Texas. She has some accusations on so-called Gulen Charter Schools at different internet sources and as a scholar, I made my own investigation with those schools and refuted Garner’s groundless accusations. Her knowledge in those issues is just superficial and she doesn’t even know  the simplest facts on neither charter schools nor Harmony Schools. That is why, henceforth, I will start calling her a sciolist (meaning “a person with superficial knowledge”). 

Let us take a look at some of her accusations along with my consequent refutations. I will not provide the links about her accusations, but will give the resources that she “contributes” to. I will also use claim-answer format to expose more about her sciolism:

Claim: "I imagine that many of these people (U. S. Congressmen Gene Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, Kofi Annan, Mayor Tom Leppert, Dr. Terri Grier, Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth A. Jones, Bill White, Dr. Akbar S. Ahmed (Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University), and James Baker) help to fund the Turkish charter schools where Islam is the predominant religion." (taken from her article on dated February 11, 2011)

Answer: "What an imagination" (!) I should say. The names are so irrelevant that it is hard to find any logical relationship among each other. Besides, Dr. Grier is the Superintendent of Houston Independent School District (HISD). How come an ISD superintendent helps the funding of a charter school?  That is ridiculous. Garner has no proof of such funding other than her wild imagination. Besides, if a person shows up at the Gulen Institute, does it mean that s/he helps the funding of charter schools? What kind of correlation is here? Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary, has nothing to do with charter schools. He works for a Speakers Bureau giving keynote speeches around the world. This is pure ill intention to find such a relationship. I don’t want to go over the names separately, but two examples should suffice.

Claim: How would Turkish teachers (many here on visas) teach our American children about such historical events as the Holocaust? (taken from How could those Turkish teachers teach American children about the Constitution, Civil War and American History? (taken from her talk on City on a Hill radio)

Answer: Let me start with a question and a simple stat as an answer that I took from Harmony Schools officials: how many Turkish teachers are there at Harmony Schools teaching Social Studies? ZERO. Ms. Garner is so ignorant that she is not aware of the simple facts. Yet, interestingly, she does not bother to ask school officials before she comes up with a conclusion. Please do not worry Ms. Garner. Our American History is told by local American teachers.

Addendum: On the Ghostfighters page, where you can find the same article that I got from, on top of the headline, a sentence reads: “we are funding charter schools that teach the kids to kill us.” Another bold and reckless claim... Imagine a school where you teach your kids how to kill their parents. None of the students react this! None of the parents, fellow teachers or community members show any reaction to this! Is it possible? If there were such things at these schools, we would have heard this somehow and some way, right? Or at least we would have heard some attempts from elementary and middle school kids to kill (!) their parents. I am ashamed to talk about those baseless claims, but attacking innocent schools with a partisanship attitude is what people like Donna Garner do. I wish we could dwell on more sensible things. By the way, I found that I was not alone. More things could be found on Donna Garner on the internet.

Donna Garner is a rich resource in terms of superficial and false information. She is the embodiment of sciolist approach. I am planning to write more about her false claims and their answers.



An Ignorant Attacker: Peggy Littleton

As Chet Hardin states El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton is not an expert on Fethullah Gulen. But that didn't stop her from lecturing at a right-wing education conference, featuring presenters like stealth-jihad activist Frank Gaffney, and conservative columnist Ann Coulter, on the dangers of Gulen's quasi-influence on American charter schools.

“Littleton, despite her public comments on the subject, couldn't come up with a specific concrete example of Gulen's untoward influence over, or profit from, a charter school,” says Hardin.

Littleton believes that, without any facts or data to back it up her assertion, those charter schools, also called Gulen Charter Schools in some circles, are being helped by President Obama. This is really something people can never imagine in their wildest dreams. I will come to the details she embellishes about President Obama but to claim that “Race to the Top” initiative was started just for the sake of “Gulen Charter Schools” is nothing but wishful thinking or just sheer ignorance.

This is not the only gaffe made by Littleton. Let’s hear more from her: "A Gulen school is, they are schools that are actually are being applied for by a gentleman, and I forget his first name, Mr. Gülen; he's a gentleman who lives in Turkey."

Again, Ms. Littleton even lacks the most basic information about Fethullah Gulen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania, not Turkey. Besides, during that aforementioned conference, Ms. Littleton spells the last name of Gulen as “Gulan”. Littleton confesses that she hasn't spent much time researching Gulen schools. "I am by no means the expert on this. I do about 60 to 80 hours a week doing roads and streets and bridges and commissioner work,” she says. Then how could someone be so assertive in her claims?

Moreover, she thinks that all charter school applications are made by Fethullah Gulen, another fallacy she gets trapped into. It is weird to know that Ms. Littleton is a former state board of education member. She looks too ignorant to know most basic facts about the charter schools.  

In her interview with Chet Hardin, she admits that she has no evidence — at all, none — that directly links Gulen to any of the more than 100 charter schools throughout the United States.

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