In his latest unscripted conversation that must drive his advisers crazy, Governor Kasich vehemently defended the actions of his friend and appointee, State Superintendent Dick Ross, and the Ohio Department of Education as he spoke about the scandal involving the Horizon Science Academy in Dayton.

According to Joe Vardon of the Columbus Dispatch, when asked about the scandal and ODE’s response, Kasich said, “As soon as the department (of education) found out (about the Horizon controversy — which stems from sexual acts between students that were not reported to parents by the school) it referred them to the authorities, which is the proper thing to do.”

“As soon as the department found out”?  We’ll have to rate this statement false.  As usual…

Matthew Blair, a former teacher and one who provided information to the State Board of Education at their latest meeting, had his story published on Diane Ravitch’s website back in January, detailing horrific working and learning conditions and illegal practices including tampering with administration of the Ohio Achievement Tests and a failure to make payments to teachers’ retirement accounts and insurance provider.  Blair sent his jaw-dropping story to the Ohio Department of Education and multiple news outlets in December, after which ODE launched a half-assed investigation with softball questions directed to the school with instructions to “feel free to keep your responses brief and ‘positive’…” 

Republican State Auditor Dave Yost also confirmed that improprieties had been reported earlier than last week’s State Board meeting.  When Yost agreed to open a special audit into the practices of the chain of 19 charter schools last week, he said that his office was initially contacted last winter but determined that the allegations were several years old and there was little it could do. Stated Yost last week, “We’ve now had multiple sources come forward and question the integrity of the testing process.”

Finally, it is appalling that Kasich’s statements include strong support for ODE’s decision to refer the four charter teachers who spoke out about the school’s conditions for possible charges.  Kasich should be thanking these teachers for speaking out and helping to clean up Ohio’s charter school system by exposing illegal activities and harmful conditions for Ohio’s children. Instead, Kasich’s got nothing but love for his pal, Dick Ross, who both ignored the initial reports of wrongdoing and has subsequently threatened these brave educators with possible legal charges and having their teaching licenses revoked, calling it “the proper thing to do.”

Governor Kasich is once again short on facts and long on support for his political appointees and campaign donors.