Recently we learned that the principal of the Bay Tech Charter School in Oakland gave himself a generous severance package of $450,000, then left for Australia.

Bay Tech is a Gulen School, connected to the reclusive Imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in seclusion in Pennsylvania while overseeing one of the largest charter chains in the U.S. You can tell a Gulen school by the disproportionate number of Tirkish people on its board and teaching staff. The repressive autocrat Erdogan in Turkey wants to extradite Gulen, claiming j
He fomented a failed rebellion against the government. Critics of Gulen believe he uses the money he extracts from his charter chain to subsidize his movement. I don’t know much about Turkish politics, but I wonder why Turkish citizens are taking control of American public schools, whose first obligation is to teach the duties of American citizenship.

California taxpayers are very generous indeed to those who work in the charter sector.

Now it turns out that the school has been forcing students to pay for their graduation gowns, which is illlegal, and requiring parents to buy tickets for the graduation ceremonies, which is also illegal.

You see, it’s simple. In California, laws are written to regulate public schools, not charter schools. The most powerful lobby in the state is the California Charter Schools Association, and it fights any regulation or accountability or even prohibition of conflicts of interest. And to top it off, Governor Jerry Brown vetoes any legislation that might hold charters accountable or block conflicts of interest. So charters are free not to hold open meetings, free to keep their records secret, free to give contracts to relatives, because Governor Brown protects them from transparency.

What a sad stain on an otherwise great legacy.