The Texas State Board of Education inexplicably approved another Gulen charter chain—this one deceptively called “Royal Public Schools—though the only thing public about it is its name. Its leader is one Sonar Tarim, who tried and failed to open a charter in Alabama, and who was rejected in Nevada when he tried to open a charter chain there. All Gulen schools are connected with the reclusive Imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in seclusion in Pennsylvania. To learn more about Gulen schools, read this piece from the Washington Post written by Sharon Higgins, independent researcher. Also, see Mark Hall’s documentary “Killing Ed,” which is available online.

Like all Gulen schools, the boards and staff will be dominated by Turkish men and most contracts are likely to be directed to Turkish-owned firms. The New York Times reported on a pervasive practice by Gulen charter schools in Texas and in Georgia of directing contracts to Turkish firms.

Pastors for Texas Children opposed charter expansion, arguing that this was not the time to divert money from the state’s underfunded public schools.

PTC believes that in a time of economic fragility, when resources are scarce, approving the use of public funds for new schools is irresponsible. Although the board took no action on five of these new charter schools, we are grateful for their veto on three of them.

Pastors for Texas Children advocated against the approval of Rocketship Charter Schools, which applied to open new schools in the Fort Worth area. The board vetoed Rocketship. We also advocated against the approval of Royal Charter Schools, but the board approved them. The south and central San Antonio community overwhelmingly opposes Royal but, unfortunately, their testimonies went unheard.

South San Antonio Parents submitted a petition against Royal but it was ignored, and there was not enough time to allow them to testify.

A witness submitted testimony based on his personal experience. All to no avail.

Testimony of Walt Sims before the
State Board of Education Austin, TX
Thursday, September 10, 2020

Concerning: COFB Item 1. Consideration of the Commissioner of Education’s Generation 25 Open-Enrollment Charter School Proposals

Stance: I am against the approval of the Royal Public School charter

Howdy. My name is Walt Sims and I would like to oppose the new Royal Public School charter and read my testimony concerning the Gulen Movement as an American who spent over a decade amongst them. From everything I know and have witnessed, I firmly believe Soner Tarim is a member of this organization.

As for me, I am a Texan. I attended TX Boy’s State, high school in Tyler, and Texas A&M University. It was at A&M that I first came into contact with the Gulen Movement through their misleading Turkish Language and Culture programs on campus. Through a series of events, I have spent the last 12 years observing the Gulen Movement at its epicenter in Turkey. Over the years, I have been close to many members of this organization, including a fiancée, and I was both an educator as well as a graduate student in a MA & PhD program at their flagship university in Istanbul (Fatih University). It was through these varying relationships that I gained access to see how this religious organization from Turkey uses the education field to pursue power; not education.
Some problems I witnessed were:

*The lobbying of individuals (in many instances, illegal) in US politics, military, journalism, diplomacy and academics;

*Their use of the Hanafi Sunni Islamic doctrine to spy on, marginalize and discriminate against non- Muslims & minorities outside of the organization (violating laws and regulations wherever they went)

*The creation of a male dominated organizational structure where select groups are prioritized and dissent isn’t tolerated, and leads to blacklisting, harassment and threats;

*The indoctrination of individuals of all ages inside the residences and after-school programs (and through cultural exchanges) with their religious propaganda;

*The targeting & infiltration of the judiciary, media and law enforcement of Turkey through the use of graduates from their educational pipeline.

And to be 100% clear: when I first went to Istanbul, I had no desire for the truth to turn out as it did, for it has been an agonizing process. My proximity in observing this organization for so long was such that recently, even the Turkish government secretly arrested & incarcerated me for several weeks denying due process or basic rights, attempting to charge me as a foreign member of this organization (which they deem a terrorist organization).

I want my many years of sacrifice to make one thing clear: I followed the truth and the facts as they were, and had no horse in this other than the truth to protect Texans from what is being deceptively hidden from them. It is because of this, I have been writing to state and federal authorities, including Governor Abbott and the SBOE, ever since early 2011 to shed light on exactly who the Gulen Movement is at their core and how they are targeting Texas.

Therefore, I would strongly encourage the SBOE to oppose any educational institution affiliated in any way with the Gulen Movement or its members, including Royal Public School.

My opposition is not against charter schools in general, but specifically about those educational institutions that operate in conjunction with and in harmony with the Gulen Movement’s members.

Thank you,

-Walt Sims
8600 N Fm 620 Rd. 
 Austin, TX 77826 979-820-3508