David Hansen quietly resigned yesterday from his job with the Kasich administration after it was revealed that he broke state law by scrubbing data from an official state report on charter schools. That report would have negatively impacted some large for-profit charter school operators who also happen to be big Republican donors.
This isn’t the first time Hansen has been caught altering charter school data to improve the image of these charter school operators.
Hansen was President of the Buckeye Institute in 2009 when they put out a report on Ohio’s dropout recover schools. Similar to the current incident, Hansen’s group altered data to improve the apparent performance of the charter schools. The shady data changes resulted in “a dramatic overstatement of the graduation rates at the charters.”
Many of the schools in the 2009 report were owned and operated by White Hat Management. Meanwhile, White Hat owner David Brennan was quietly contributing tens of thousands of dollars to the Buckeye Institute through his Brennan Family Foundation.
Hansen followed the same recipe this year when he illegally scrubbed data for the sate report.
By excluding data about low performing charter schools from the official state report, Hansen improved the ranking of the Ohio Council of Community Schools, which authorizes a batch of the notoriously low-performing charters operated by for-profit companies White Hat Management and K-12.
Both K-12 and David Brennan , the owner of White Hat Management, are reliable Republican donors. Along with his wife and kids, Brennan has contributed nearly $100,000 to John Kasich’s campaign in Ohio. And they will likely be large contributors to his presidential run as well.
John Kasich created a new position in 2013 specifically to oversee the expansion of charter schools in Ohio. They chose David Hansen, the husband of the Kasich’s chief-of-staff Beth Hansen, to fill that role.
Clearly Beth would have known about the previous incident of data altering, and the cash David Brennan was paying her husband to put out the phony data. Which leaves us with a number of important unanswered questions:
Did the Kasich administration ignore David Hansen’s shady, data-altering past when they hired him as the school choice chief, putting him in charge of producing reports on the same charter school operators who funded his previous flawed studies?
Or was Hansen hired by the Kasich Administration because they knew he would use any means necessary to make these charter schools look good?
How much money did Brennan and other for-profit charter school operators give the Buckeye Institute so Hansen could produce faulty “reports” based on altered charter school data?
How much cash have Brennan and the other operators secretly donated to Kasich’s presidential super PACs while Kasich’s school-choice chief was working to hide information about their failing charter schools by illegally scrubbing data from official state reports?
Will Auditor Yost step up and pursue a full investigation into the Kasich Administration and David Hansen over this illegal act like he did with the Columbus City Schools data issues?
Ohioans deserve to know the truth.
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