Dr. Tevfik Eski, chief executive officer of the Pelican Educational Foundation in New Orleans, has firmly rejected allegations relating to the Abramson Science and Technology Charter School that appeared in The Times-Picayune daily on Friday July 15.
Saying that the allegations in the story by Andrew Vanacore were presented as if they were facts, Eski stated that it was a bad example of journalism and extrajudicial execution. Eski remarked that the sources of the allegations were some former Abramson teachers who had to leave the school for various reasons and that the newspaper did not fully publish all the responses given by Abramson officials. Eski also added that they have fears of a racist terrorist attack against their school following unsubstantiated allegations presented in the article.
Eski also rejects the claims that Inci Akpinar, presented as an executive at Atlas Texas Construction, offered a bribe to Folwell Dunbar, the state’s academic advisor, last year. Eski maintains that Akpinar has no relationship with Abramson and the police could not find any proof to support these claims and had therefore closed the case, but this was not evident in the newspaper article.
The newspaper also claimed that certain math and science teachers at Abramson lacked English competency and had language barriers with the students. Eski, on the other hand, said that the newspaper could not explain how Abramson could have achieved such measurable success if there was language barrier between students and teachers. Eski believes these claims were made by a couple of expelled students.
Eski went on to state that the newspaper confused two separate incidents relating to 5-year-old kindergarten students: “The incident that the newspaper refers to happened between two 5-year-old male students in the restroom, which was the part of the classroom and the teacher had full responsibility for the restroom as well as the classroom. The incident was a fight and the school administration took the necessary action.”
“On the other hand, another incident also took place between two 5-year-old male students in a room that had to be constantly monitored by a teacher. We determined the inappropriate behavior, handled the process professionally and informed the parents and the police. You can easily find out more about the incident in police reports and from parents. The school administration was not indifferent to the incident and we followed the appropriate procedures,” he added.
Eski maintained that the newspaper claimed that the academic performance of Abramson was low and this claim was not based on any scientific criteria. “Taking over the school in 2007, we increased the SPS (school performance scores) from 33 to 78, but this fact was ignored by the newspaper. Our graduation rates also increased and dropouts dramatically diminished. Our neighborhood schools are struggling with drug problems, teen pregnancy and violence, but we don’t have any of these problems. Recently, Congressman Bill Cassidy visited another Pelican Educational Foundation operated school, Kenilworth Science and Technology, in Baton Rouge. A female student rushed out to the congressman and uttered these words in tears: ‘If I had gone another school, I would be pregnant now’.”
Stating that their school had demonstrated remarkable academic growth in 2009-2010, Eski concluded: “We are proud of these achievements and our students’ success. We will strive to provide a better future to our students.”