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.




  • PeaceThruNoParties

    Another great piece, but if you’ll please excuse a small pet peeve here, when you know it’s the Brennan Family Foundation, there’s no excuse to repeatedly misspell the guy’s name.

  • Good catch. Fixed. Thank you!

  • Gopnomore

    Great article! Keep up the pressure. Hopefully other major newspapers will follow

  • Think.

    How many scandals does it take before the legislature passes meaningful reform to fix Ohio’s failed charter school system???

  • dmoore2222

    Yost is a fake so don’t count on him. The phony outrage over the JobsOhio audit was proof of that. He capitulated like everyone knew he would.

  • Susan Riley

    People are blaming Brennan, Hansen, the General Assembly, and even Kasich. The real issue is the voter; they are to blame. When are people going to stop voting for these crooks?

  • jr6020

    If the ODP had actually vetted a credible candidate for Governor we might not be in this mess. The ODP was lazy (failed to vent Fitz), leaderless, and pretty much conceded Kasich a second term. If the party leaders didn’t give a damn, the party faithful just stayed home in record numbers- more of a reflection on the failures of the ODP then anything else…maybe now they have learned a valuable lesson or 2 and under new chairman Pepper will make 2016 a successful one…

  • Stephen Beard

    Hey man, if the data don’t fit the narrative, you change the data. Everybody knows that. Sheesh!

  • 333SAL

    Agreed . . . but voters can only vote on information provided to them. Thanks to PB et al, we can pull the Wizard’s curtain back a little further!

  • 333SAL

    Glad you brought up Columbus Public Schools and Gene Harris. I think we ought to hold Yost to a fair accounting. Let’s not let him get away with ignoring a rich white person’s “faux pas” while black administrators get thrown into the fire (not that they didn’t ask for it).

  • Marquita Lee

    Atlanta saw fit to convict and hand down prison sentences to educators for their actions supposedly related to ‘high stakes tests’ tampering.

  • MKTG

    Kasich has successfully surrounded himself with appointees and voter-assisted representatives who appear willing to put up with his notorious temperament for financial and political gain; he has support from the Columbus Disgrace, although that could change, not sure about that, and then there was the gerrymandering–that’s why it’s so difficult in Ohio. He was able to hide the books for JobsOhio and squelch the opposition both legislatively and judicially; seemingly similar tactics with Chartergate. It has allowed him to create Kasichlore and garner financial backing to make his run–I think it’s the debates and the media in the states where he’s campaigning that can nail him, so that’s where the data needs channeled. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that other states have governors who appear to wear the same cloak.

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