After months of waiting for the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to release public records related to last summer’s charter school scandal, Plunderbund Media LLC has filed a lawsuit to force Governor John Kasich’s representatives at the ODE to turn over emails from David Hansen, Kasich’s hand-picked and now-disgraced Charter School Czar.

Hansen, husband of trusted Kasich adviser Beth Hansen, resigned from his state job back in July 2015 after it was discovered he illegally withheld damaging rating data from charter sponsor evaluations. Seven weeks later, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) finally released some public records related to that charter school data scandal.  Included in those records were emails sent from Hansen’s personal Gmail account.

On September 25th, 2015 we requested all emails from Hansen’s personal accounts related to the charter school scandal.   Ohio’s courts have continually viewed records from personal email accounts, when used for public business, as public records.

Lawyers from ODE were originally cooperative and, based on additional public records obtained by Plunderbund, made an initial good faith effort to obtain the records from Hansen. Hansen, however, was not cooperative and immediately hired a lawyer, who pushed back against the request.   By January, 2016 the ODE appears to have given up fighting with Hansen over the records which were their responsibility to maintain and provide.

Ohio law, unfortunately, provides only one option for a media outlet in our situation, and we are again forced to sue the Kasich administration in order to obtain these public records.

Copies of the initial court documents are included below.

 

PB_ODE_AFF

PB_ODE_MEM

 
  • Denis Ian

    Yes. Public education is for sale. Who’s surprised that education was the next valuable oasis for the same sort of entrepreneurs who created Big Banks, Big Pharma, and Big Oil???

    The lure of the schools … with the ever-repeating money stream via taxes … was just too, too luscious not to attract these flies. And now, at the same moment they are creating charter school kingdoms, they are fattening their odds and slimming their risks by ruining the long-standing public school system.??These charters are ostensible saviors of the last resort for children stuck in failing educational mills … mostly found in cities for now. But the inner cities are only the starting block for their designs. They see education in an entirely new structure and with a an outcome never before considered … profit. ??To cull some schools from the system … a few at a time for now … sets the pattern. These charter school operators can then manipulate the success story, chest-beat their efforts, entice other disenchanted sub-groups, and then grow their movement … and do so by siphoning off public school dollars that further cripple the remaining public schools not yet gathered up by these long-range education hoodlums.

    ??It’s a build and destroy mission. Dismantle pubic schools through inadequate funding and through skewered assessment results … think Common Core! … that shine an unhappy light on school and teacher performances. This, of course, stirs up the emotions and allows for charter operators to bully their way into new situations … which, in turn, allow others to come forward to reap profits from arming these new schools with all of the most modern accoutrements … computers, software, learning materials, infrastructures of all sorts all provided by … guess who? … fellow entrepreneurs who have, in all likelihood, struck a mutually profitable agreement with lots of others.

    So the spigots are open … and the tax monies formerly designed to fund one of the most successful public education systems ever … now drain into the pockets of entrepreneurs who are more about flash than about substance. Classroom performance is now superseded by the bottom line.??

    These charter/privatized schools will come to dominate the scene … and then the schools will become more and more like like race cars … covered with product logos and insignias of all sorts.??We’re likely to see high school sport scoreboards with product info flashing all game long. Many a campus will be decorated by signage that speaks to the generosity of business X and Y. And … are you ready for this? Schools will actually be named … perhaps stealthily … after business interests. We might not get a Whopper High School, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get something called the MicroSoft Magnet School for Technology. You know … something extra sexy that would awe the ordinary taxpayer into a state of gratefulness. I know. I know. It sounds awful … and it is … but that’s how the game will play out.??

    Sports’ uniforms will look like those patchy outfits race drivers wear … with logos all over the place. Cafeteria foods will be franchised out … even transportation will be “Uberized” in some fashion because … well … if there’s money to be made, they’ll make it. ??Teachers will be company men and women. Orientated just as other workers are … and rah-rahed into embracing the company spirit and well-being. Students are the product … spit and polish the product just well enough to get by quality control and … and you’ll be a-okay.

    ??All of the older teachers will have been retired or run out of the system by these magnificent evaluation devices no one really understands, but they get the job done. And those too young to retire will simply quit because they will not have the intestines for what is unfolding.??So, there you have it.

    Schools will have new ownership, but the same funding … your tax dollars. The faculties will have been rinsed clean of old blood and new, conforming folks will be installed because they do exactly as they’re told … and read from the curriculum scripts exactly as they are written. ??The schools will purchase equipment and vast materials from fellow entrepreneurs who are in on the “share”. They’ll receive “donations” … actually advertising fees … from phony civic-minded entities that wish to maximize their exposure in order to maximize their advertising clout.

    Politicians will undoubtedly share in the looting of the public schools by getting loot from the looters. I’m sure you can follow that. ??And the two most screwed-over interest groups will be the parents and the children. The parents and others in society will have zero control over their tax dollars and their children’s education. And their children will be short-changed not for a few years … but for as long as they might live. ??

    So, there’s the future. More and more control by fewer and fewer powerful people who control powerful mechanisms to become more powerful every day. And as their power grows, our power shrinks. ??

    Don’t bother with the blame. It’s too late. Bother with the solution. Otherwise this nation is looking at very dark days.

    Denis Ian

  • Spitfiremk1

    Well said!!!

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