Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel told the Canton Repository that he wakes up every day and wonders “how we can create an environment for a vibrant and growing economy. One of the main challenges we face as a state, as the baby boomers retire, we are seeing a shortage of skilled workers in many important fields.”

He made the comments while touring Brown Mackie College, a private, for-profit school.

Josh is a huge fan of for-profit educational endeavors, regardless of whether or not they turn out quality students or spend public money wisely. And some of those for-profit endeavors are clearly huge fans of his.

Even though the treasurer does not make education policy, audit schools’ books or try and collect public money they misspend, he is the top recipient of money from for-profit charter schools affiliated with the controversial Gulen movement. These are the schools that have generated an astonishing amount of bad press, have been raided by the FBI and have caught the attention of the US State Department, Department of Homeland Security and CIA. (Meanwhile, Gov. Kasich continues to say virtually nothing about the growing scandal).

Mandel’s campaigns for state treasurer and the US Senate collected $37,750 from Team Gulen between 2008 and 2014 –  more than any other statewide candidate during the same time frame.

What attracted them to him? And what attracted him to them?

There isn’t enough time to revisit all of the Gulen schools’ recent problems but here’s some highlights:

  • A group of teachers told the state school board that they personally witnessed test tampering, unqualified teachers who made significantly more than qualified ones and told of school administrators who tolerated an in-class groping game and failed to tell parents their kids were caught having oral sex at a school function.
  • The Dayton Daily News quoted a student who was offered $20 and pizza to answer questions on standardized tests that his peers had left blank.
  • Channel 4 in Columbus reported on WikiLeaks documents that show the U.S. State Department has questioned the qualifications of Turkish people seeking visas to teach in Gulen schools. The concerns were so great that state department officials shared their findings with the CIA and Homeland Security.
  • As Plunderbund reported last month, a sweeping investigation by the Akron Beacon Journal showedOhio taxpayers paid $914 million to Gulen-affiliated charter schools last year and school officials used much of the money to hire Turkish teachers and administrators with questionable credentials.  The Gulen schools have expanded In Ohio, despite state audits dating back to 2002 that found thousands of public dollars “illegally expended” to finance the U.S. citizenship process for Turkish employees — some fresh out of college with no classroom experience and broken English. The auditor also cited suspect wire transfers, totaling $36,000, and checks made out to “cash” to repay personal loans issued by individuals in Istanbul, Turkey.

 

 

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