Soner Tarim is the Muslim from Sugarland, TX whose company, Unity School Services, has management contracts with Woodland Prep charter in Washington County and LEAD Academy charter in Montgomery.
No doubt he sings the praises of all things Alabama when he shows up here trying to figure out how he can put together a business deal. But he sang a very different tune when he went before the Texas folks May 23 who approve charter applications in the Lone Star state. He wants to open eight new charters in Texas.
He was in Austin last week to make his pitch for these schools. He was questioned about his work for Woodland Prep, in particular why the National Association of Charter School Authorizers said the application should not be approved. His response was classic. He told the Texas folks that NACSA does not know what it is doing and does not know how to grade an application, in spite of the fact they have reviewed 500 charter applications in the last 10 years. Then he went on to say that the Alabama charter commission also did not know how to review applications until he taught them.
You can check out his comments on this tape of the Texas meeting. Comments about NACSA and the Alabama charter commission are at 36 minutes on the tape.
So if he is to be believed, he basically wrote the application for Woodland Prep–and then directed how it was graded. Dog gone, had I known you could get away with this, I would have graduated with highest honors from Auburn University years ago.
Then at the 62 minute mark you can listen to him once again use fake math proficiency numbers to blast Washington County schools. Of course, he just throws out numbers without giving their source. As we posted a few days ago, his numbers are no where close to agreeing with proficiency numbers for Washington County on the state department of education’s web site.
Tarim goes on to imply that he is just a missionary called to Alabama to save rednecks who have no appreciation for good schools and great education (which for a sizeable fee, he will be more than happy to give them).
All the more incredible is that while Tarim is in Texas telling folks how incompetent the Alabama charter commission is, this same board is bashing Washington County at their meeting, also on May 23, and defending Tarim at every turn.
As we say in Red Level, he is playing our charter commission like a fiddle.
Editor’s note: Just to rub salt in the wound, Tarim’s wife, Nancy J. Li, recently sent out a tweet that U.S. News & World Report ranked Alabama the second worst state. It’s one thing if I announce to the world that my baby is ugly, but don’t you dare tell me that. And we have people in this state who want to do business with folks who are this condescending? Have they lost their mind?