Sunday, February 17, 2013

On Turks, charter schools, and alewives

In today's Maine Sunday Telegram, I have stories on two entirely unrelated topics:

The first answers the question: what do Bangor, Maine and perhaps the most powerful socio-cultural movement in Turkey have in common? The answer: the proposed Queen City Academy Charter School, which backers hope to resubmit for consideration later this year.

As the front page piece describes, the proposed school would be part of an informal worldwide network of schools, cultural institutions, and business groups created by followers of the reclusive and influential Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen. As you'll see in the piece, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but their track record in both the U.S. and Turkey includes a number of things to be aware of, including a lack of transparency.

For those interested in further reading, here are links to the earlier New York Times pieces from Texas and Turkey, the referenced USA Today piece, and the "60 Minutes" segment.

The second story updates the strange saga of the alewives of the St. Croix river, whose spawning runs were blocked from entering the fishways on the river's dams by 1995 and 2007 acts of the Maine legislature. I covered the issue in some detail in this feature back in July. Now two rival bills seek to open the river to the fish, one more slowly and less comprehensively than the other. 

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