The Associated Press on Friday confirmed our exclusive story early last week that the U.S. Department of Education has denied that Secretary Arne Duncan ever told Kasich that Kasich’s planned abandonment of Governor Strickland’s evidence-based school funding model wouldn’t jeopardize Ohio’s awarding of “Race to the Top” federal funding. It turns out that the U.S. Department of Education has, for weeks now, made it plain that they made no such representation to Kasich for as long as Kasich has been claiming otherwise.
Federal officials say they can’t assure Ohio that its $400 million federal education grant is safe, as an incoming governor who seeks a significant change to state education policy has said.
In other words, John Kasich lied. The AP then quotes the same U.S. Department of Education spokeswoman who sent us the statement she provided to us last week, but notes she originally made that statement weeks earlier when the agency first became aware of what Governor-elect Kasich was claiming and was trying to push back from Kasich’s false account.
Governor Strickland has publicly said that Secretary Duncan told him something vastly different than what Kasich claims when Gov. Strickland talked with Duncan:
Strickland has said he was told by Duncan that Ohio’s grant would be in jeopardy if the "evidence-based model" for school funding championed by the governor, which is linked to practices proven to help boost student performance, is removed from the plan.
"It’s mystifying that this has been portrayed as a question in the media when the U.S. Department of Education has been so clear," said Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst.
Ms. Wurst is correct. There has been nothing coming out of the U.S. Department of Education that suggested otherwise, only from Kasich. And the Ohio media reported Kasich’s claims for over a week without ever bothering to seek any confirmation from the agency itself. Turns out, that was a horrible mistake.
Kasich is trying to push back that he just flat out lied to the press, but read carefully how Kasich now characterizes his phone call with Duncan:
"I had what I can only describe as a great conversation with the secretary," Kasich told reporters on a visit to northwest Ohio the week the two talked. "And I told him when it comes to accountability, choice, and high standards, where do I get in line? He said, look, you’ll have your money and we’ll be great partners. And I said, could I tell the media that, he said absolutely."
Noticeably absent from Kasich’s retelling of his phone conversation with Secretary Duncan? Any reference to them talking about what impact, if any, scrapping Ohio’s evidence based school funding model would have on Ohio’s “Race to the Top” funding. Despite publicly telling the media that Duncan specifically told Kasich that Ohio’s “evidence-based” funding formula has nothing to do with Ohio’s award of “Race to the Top” federal funding award, Kasich can’t even claim now that they’ve ever specifically talked about it.
What’s even more telling is that Kasich visited with Duncan last week while in D.C., but he pointedly didn’t even bring up Ohio’s “Race to the Top” funding with Duncan:
Nichols said Kasich saw Duncan again Thursday on a visit to Washington and Race to the Top did not come up. He said they spoke about overall education reforms, and Kasich is convinced the two see eye-to-eye on many education issues.
"We put in two to three weeks of phone calls to them to discuss this. They know how to get ahold of us," he said. "If they think there’s a concern there, then I’m certain that they’ll be in touch with us."
Pathetic. Kasich is caught in a lie, so the Kasich Administration immediately starts deploying “Plan B”—the same plan they have to spin the loss of the $400 million in 3C money—Blame Obama. Yep, it’s Obama’s fault that the federal government isn’t willing to work with an inflexible Kasich Administration that decides first, asks questions later.
That’s $800 million in federal funding in economic development and school funding that John Kasich’s rigid, unbinding ideological crusades is going to cost the State of Ohio unless the Republican-controlled legislature finds a way to save Ohio from its new Governor. Then there’s the $824 million in promised tax cuts next year that Kasich has still no plan to pay for.
Apparently, the Kasich subspecies of deficit hawk is blind, politically tone deaf, and speaks out of both sides of its beak.