Monday, October 5, 2015

Charters: Shouldn't Angelic Kasich look homeward?

When Gov. Kasich finally settles down in  Ohio from his adopted residence in New Hampshire  - political decency will require it, folks - he will be forced to face an unspeakable charter school scandal with Team Kasich's fingerprints all over it.

The latest ugly chapter was well recorded  by reporter Doug Livingston in today's Beacon Journal. It was prompted by a  $71 million U.S. Department of Education grant to the failed Ohio charter school system. But it now appears the reviews of such national grants were submitted by the very same  school choice hucksters who have a reputation of eliminating poor  scores from the charter test grades to raise the average of their performances.

We're speaking, of course, of David Hansen, the charter-friendly operative at the Ohio Board of Education who resigned after being outed as the guy who wielded the eraser.
Not only that.  Hansen's wife is Beth Hansen, Kasich's former chief of staff who is now his presidential campaign manager.

As Livingston reported,  both Hansens met with Kasich and others  to advance their plans to  entirely convert the Youngstown public schools into a charter system,  a delicate subject in a hot political season.  Beth Hansen told the Plain Dealer that she would rather not discuss it. Nor might  Kasich, a reverential supporter of charters.

For a long time, it hasn't been a secret that the entire charter system is well protected  by the state's two top managers, David Brennan's White Hat Management and Bill Lager's Altair Learning based in Columbus.

Together,  they have been enriched with $1 billion in taxpayer money.  That arrives via their control over their "investments" in Republican  politicians  who form the pro-charter chorus in the legislature without much prodding.    Brennan, well known for his Koch-like financial contributions to sustaining his GOP causes,  once even wrote to lawmakers to remind them of his purse.

Other recipients include Columbus Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman , both of whom also endorsed the federal  grant to the Ohio system.  As usual,  Portman toyed with semantics.  His spokesperson told the Beacon Journal that the senator didn't really endorse the grant  application but  merely asked that it be "considered".  Go figure.

So Hooray for Congressman Tim, Ryan, the Youngstown  Democrat, for raising hell about the grant system's careless approval of porous applications, saying he was suspicious of what came down at the federal level.  .

But Kasich campaign spokesman Rob Nichols circled the wagons  around the Hansens, contending he could explain everything about the Youngstown meeting.  "They [Hansens]  try to leave work at the office," he said.  "So it would be unlikely that it came up."

For that nugget  of wisdom,  I cannot resist recognizing Nichols for the coveted  Grumpy Abe Linguistic Lunacy Award.  (GALL).

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