In recent weeks, Oakland has been roiled by a charter school scandal. The principal of a Gulen charter school left for Australia, with $450,000 in severance pay. Board members say they didn’t realize that his contract allowed for three years pay as severance.

Gulen charter schools always deny that they are Gulen charter schools. They claim to be independent. Others, however, know they are Gulen schools because most or all of the board members are Turkish, most of the staff are Turkish teachers working on visas, and most of the contracts are awarded to Turkish firms.

A few years back, “60 Minutes” did a special in which a teacher alleged that he was required to remit 40% of his salary as payment to the Gulen movement. Fethullah Gulen is an imam from Turkey who lives in seclusion in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. He was an ally of Recip Erdogan, the strongman who rules Turkey with an iron hand, but then they had a falling-out. Erdogan blames Gulen for an attempted coup and wants the U.S. to extradite him. The U.S. refuses. Meanwhile, Gulen has oversight of nearly 200 charter schools across the U.S. that have replaced public schools.

The former principal of the Oakland BayTech charter school admitted that the school is a Gulen charter and that the school turned over large sums of taxpayers’ money to the Gulen headquarters.

This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a leader of a Gulen school admitted that the school was part of the Gulen network.

Caprice Young, the first CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, took charge of the Magnolia charter chain, a Gulen chain, when it was in financial distress, and she too denies that the Gulen schools are Gulen schools. But most of those who do not work for a Gulen charter acknowledge that Gulen charters are Gulen charters and rely heavily on Turkish teachers who use special HB-1 visas.

What is remarkable in the Oakland BayTech story is that the principal said, “Yes, we are a Gulen charter. Yes, we do give kickbacks to Fethullah Gulen.”

Hatipoglu denies that he stole from BayTech or altered his contract. But the former principal said all the allegations about BayTech’s links to the Gülen movement are true.

Public records support some of Hatipoglu’s claims.

“The school gave Turkish teachers employment because the school applies for their visas, and when they give donations, they get to work,” said Hatipoglu. “I told [BayTech’s board] I’d no longer do this because there have been so many allegations, and the Turkish government is looking into it.”

Hatipoglu is one of the first high-level administrators of a Gülen school to describe the ways the movement allegedly extracts money from the many charter schools its followers operate.

The Gülen movement is led by an elderly Turkish imam named Fethullah Gülen who lives in exile in Pennsylvania. Gülen and his thousands of followers around the world have been labeled terrorists by the Turkish government. In recent years, Turkish intelligence agents have fanned out across at least 18 nations to spy on, and sometimes seize, Gülenists and take them back to Turkey where they are jailed and tortured, according to recent reports in The New York Times and other media.

Critics of the Gulen movement are called “racists” or anti-Islamic. Critics of Gulen are routinely assailed as “anti-Islamic” but Erdogan is Islamic, so no one can say that all his critics are biased against his religion.

I am not biased against Gulen or his religion. I think that it is ridiculous to outsource American public schools to representatives of a foreign entity, whether it is Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Turkey, or Nigeria. Are we not capable in this country of running our own public schools? If one of the major purposes of public education is to teach citizenship, how can that responsibility be outsourced?