SOURCE: Magnolia Public Schools

University of Arkansas

June 02, 2016 13:39 ET

Magnolia Parents and Alumni Call on Foreign Government to Stop Intervening in Their Schools

Letter to Turkish Consul General Demands They Cease Aggressive Campaign Paid for by Republic of Turkey to Undermine the High-Performing Schools

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - June 02, 2016) - More than 30 alumni and involved parents with children at Magnolia Public Schools, a high-performing network of 11 public charter schools across California, today submitted a letter to the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles demanding the Turkish government stop spending substantial resources on high-powered lobbyists and lawyers to spread false information about their schools in an attempt to shut them down. The parent leaders, who represent 4,500 Magnolia parents, are asking the Turkish Consul General to explain why their foreign government is intervening in the public education of American students.

"Why is this foreign government trying to disrupt the education of largely Latino and African-American students? Magnolia is giving our kids a great education and preparing them to succeed in college and a foreign government is trying to stop that?" said parent Lourdes Gonzalez, one of 31 parent leaders and alumni who signed the letter to the Turkish consul general. Her children have been students at MSA-Reseda and MSA-Northridge for five years. "We demand that this foreign government stop this disgusting campaign against our schools, our students and our teachers. We will not allow our children to be used as pawns in a political game taking place 7,000 miles away."

Parents submitted the letter less than one month after U.S. News & World Report placed two of Magnolia's high schools in the top three percent of all high schools in the nation. Magnolia Science Academy 2 in Van Nuys was the top-ranked charter high school in Los Angeles Unified and the third highest-ranked public high school in the district. Along with Magnolia Science Academy Reseda, it was named in the top 100 high schools in California.

"The Turkish government is attempting to stifle dissent by harassing U.S. public schools who have hired some highly qualified math and science teachers who fled their country to escape the growing extremism," said Magnolia CEO and Superintendent Caprice Young. "It's pathetic that American lawyers and lobbyists would take a foreign paycheck, a fat paycheck at that, to falsely undermine U.S. public schools that are doing a great job for its highest-need students."

The attacks are believed to be aimed at Magnolia because a small percentage of its faculty are highly qualified math and science teachers from Turkey. Nine teachers, less than three percent of Magnolia's faculty, are employed through an H1-B visa, a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. schools and companies to hire specialized employees. Given California's teacher shortage in math and science fields, Magnolia brought in highly skilled teachers with experience to teach these subjects, a feature of Magnolia's academic program.

"Our students do not deserve to be caught in the crossfire of this foreign political proxy war being waged to the detriment of our children," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). "Through our work at CCSA we hold all schools to high standards while supporting those, like Magnolia, who excel in preparing students to thrive in college and beyond. It is unconscionable that some of California's most underserved kids are being undermined in this way and we oppose these efforts that take away student access to quality public schools."

Magnolia has years of publicly available reviews, audits and investigations into its finances and operations proving the charges of the Turkish government are false. The State Auditor's exhaustive investigation revealed no wrongdoing and the State of California followed the audit's conclusion by approving $17.4 million in state bonds to build a new school, among several other actions proving the authorities' confidence in its operation. Standard & Poor's also gave Magnolia the highest possible lift in its bond rating after the audit's completion.

"For nearly 15 years, Magnolia schools have been the ticket to greater opportunities and fulfilling lives for all of its students," said Magnolia alumnus Julian Lopez, who graduated from the Reseda campus in 2008, attended UC Merced and returned to the schools to work as an IT specialist. "To have people who have never even visited our schools come and threaten our existence by making false statements is really upsetting. But Magnolia is strong and we won't allow what amounts to nothing more than a public relations smear campaign knock us out."

Magnolia Public Schools is a high-quality program with a nearly 15-year track record of success in providing California's underserved students, predominately Latinos and African-Americans, with a quality STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

This year, 94 percent of Magnolia's graduating seniors were accepted to colleges and universities including UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC and Cal State schools.

About Magnolia Public Schools

Magnolia Public Schools is a high-performing network of 11 public charter schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and Orange County that provides a college preparatory educational program emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Magnolia's mission is to prepare students to succeed in college through a rigorous academic program while reinforcing core values through character development classes that cultivate respect for self and others. Magnolia's vision is to create scientific thinkers who contribute to the global community as socially responsible and educated members of society. www.magnoliapublicschools.org

About Magnolia Public Schools

Magnolia Public Schools is a high-performing network of 11 public charter schools in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and Orange County that provides a college preparatory educational program emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Magnolia's mission is to prepare students to succeed in college through a rigorous academic program while reinforcing core values through character development classes that cultivate respect for self and others. Magnolia's vision is to create scientific thinkers who contribute to the global community as socially responsible and educated members of society.

www.magnoliapublicschools.org

Contact Information

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    Molly O'Brien
    Larson Communications
    (703) 863 - 8773