By Doug Livingston
Beacon Journal education writer
U.S. federal agents have raided 19 charter schools, including three in Ohio, where an FBI criminal investigation in Cleveland has led to search warrants in Indiana and Illinois over the past week, Ohio-based Beacon Journal has reported.
Concept Schools, a charter school operator headquartered near Chicago, manages 19 charter schools in Ohio, second only to Texas with 44 such schools. There are nearly 140 charter schools, spread across 26 states, reportedly associated with Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic cleric exiled from Turkey, living in Pennsylvania.
Concept Schools, which emphasizes math and science, has been investigated previously by the U.S. Department of Labor for its use of foreign workers. Ohio audits found that public money for the schools had been used improperly for visas, according to the report.
The Turkish government has recently started an international campaign against the global network of schools affiliated with Gülen, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ally-turned-nemesis.