MerryLynn Gerstenschlager, the Vice President of Texas Eagle Forum, voiced her concerns over the alleged "Gulen Charter Schools" in front of the Texas House Public Education Committee, yet nobody at the committee shared these concerns. The alarmist approch of Ms. Gerstenschlager (hard to write her last name) reflected the mindset of people with similar worldview.
First of all, she makes a lot of factual errors such as "Turkish government was taken over by Islamists" as though there has been a coup that resulted in the governance of Islamists. There is no such thing. Turkey has been on free elections since 1950 and the current party, which considers itself "conservative democrat", won the last three elections. She also quotes from Rick Perry, but everyone knows Perry with his infamous gaffe about Turkey.
She also claims that "Fethullah Gulen was kicked out of Turkey", but that is not true, either. He left Turkey on his will and she was subsequently acquitted from all cases.
Upon hearing some nonsensical claims about Harmony Public Schools, Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, said : “I have a large Turkish community in my district and several Harmony schools in my district. I think they are fabulous. I don’t think they teach religion.”
Gerstenschlager also admitted the success of Harmony Public Schools:
“I have read stellar things about their academic performance. I never said they taught religion."
Allen told Gerstenschlager she should “underscore ‘stellar,’” and said she has visited Turkey twice.
“It’s beautiful. You should go. I will take you,” the lawmaker said.
Rep. Mark Shelton, on the other hand, R-Fort Worth, told Gerstenschlager the Harmony charter school in his district is immensely popular. “They are lining up trying to get into that school. Parents are thrilled. I am just not hearing anyone saying that there’s some problem in the school related to the issues you are talking about,” the physician-lawmaker told her.
Mr. Shelton also asked, "You don't trust the parents with their choice?"
Allen, the Houston lawmaker, got in the last word during the public hearing.
“I am just dumbfounded,” she said. “Of all the cultures.. I don’t know why we single out Turkey. I think the Turkish culture is wonderful. I hope they open up more schools.”
The full conversation between the three can be found below: