Uploaded on Aug 18, 2010
See How Informed(!) The People who Attack Harmony and Cosmos Foundation Are!
Here is the full script of the video:
As CBS 7 first reported Tuesday, a West Texas group is claiming that a charter school coming to Odessa this fall has ties to radical Islam in Turkey.
But tonight's statements from school administrators and new information seem to indicate that claim is not true.
As parents poured into Harmony's future school building for an information session this evening, "West Texas Patriots" members stood outside handing out fliers that encourage parents to research the school online.
As CBS 7 first told you Tuesday, The Patriots believe the Harmony Schools have connections to "Radical Islam".
However, continued research of our own found that is unlikely.
For example, Congressman Randy Neugebauer supports Harmony, and President George W. Bush invited Harmony Academy students to the Whitehouse in 2008.
West Texas Patriot representative, Georgia Bustamanti, couldn't provide any source for her information.
Georgia Bustamanti: "We found this on the website."
Beau Berman: "Which website?"
Bustamanti: "What is the name of it?"
Berman: "Do you think that maybe you should know the name of the website before you spread this information to parents who are just trying to find out about a school?"
Bustamanti: "Well... yes, probably. I will admit that."
Visit the Patriots' website and they provide links to personal blogs, which backup their claims about Harmony with links to other blogs, which in turn, use other blogs as their proof. A primary source is never identified on these websites either.
Beau Berman: "Who is the source that claims they're connected to Fethullah Gulen?"
Georgia Bustamanti: "I don't think I'm going to say that."
Bustamanti: "I just don't think I'm going to."
Berman: "Do you know who the source is?"
Bustamanti: "I'll sure (sic) send you an email later."
After a presentation to about 100 parents and children, Harmony Superintendent, Soner Tarim, addressed the accusations of ties to Islam.
"We have absolutely no connection whatsoever and we have one of the highest rated charter schools in the nation", said Tarim.
Contrary to the Patriots' claim that all Harmony teachers are Turkish and Asian, we found several tonight from Lubbock's Harmony school that were Caucasian and American born. Including, Terry Blake Morris, who was born in Lubbock.
"Well, it's something that I teach my kids is that you can't just Google something on the Internet and find out everything you need to know about a particular topic. You need to dig a little deeper and be able to back things up and use primary sources", says Morris.
During an interview Tuesday, West Texas Patriots member, Michelle Fowler, said one of the groups concerns is that Harmony uses books printed by Fethullah Gulen to indoctrinate students. But that's simply not true. Harmony actually uses books from a list of approved textbooks on the Texas Education Agency's website.
Odessan, Mary Lou Birney, has a Harmony entrance interview set up for her grandson on Friday.
"As a responsible parent I would have to look at it to see what they have in the way of their books", said Birney.
Later on, we spoke with another West Texas Patriot member handing out fliers.
Sylvia Fowler: "Fethullah Gulen... he's an Islamic Extremist. That's what we have read, OK?"
Beau Berman: "What has he done that's made him an extremist?"
Fowler: "Well, just pushing his views and things."
Berman: "What are his views?"
Fowler: "Umm... just... umm... hmm... well, that's kind of a difficult question to answer."
Since the Harmony Schools' inception in year 2000, the Texas Education Agency has received zero complaints about them and ranked the 11 school branches as exemplary last year.
The schools have an official cooperation with the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A & M. They've been ranked among the top in the nation by the US News and World Report magazine.
Opposite from the reputable evidence in favor of the Harmony Schools, the West Texas Patriots appear to base their accusations on blogs without sources.
"This kind of an experience and these kind of grades and improvement would certainly be an asset for him (her grandson)", says Birney.
That's why some parents say they now believe in Harmony.
The West Texas Patriots plan to present their questions about the Harmony Science Academy with the Governor's office and other state officials.
Harmony's Superintendent says he feels bad for the West Texas Patriots.
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