Author Archives: Jason Hart

KasichCare Enrollment Hits 92% of Admin’s July 2015 Estimate

OH-obamacare-medicaid-enrollment-2014-07Last month 338,707 Ohioans were enrolled in Medicaid under Obamacare, exceeding 92 percent of the July 2015 enrollment projected by Governor John Kasich.

In yesterday’s Ohio Department of Medicaid caseload release for July, June enrollment was revised upward to 328,069 from the 285,553 first reported.

May enrollment, initially reported as 243,230 and then revised to 274,630 last month, was revised to 309,562 in the July caseload report.



Dispatch Publisher, Wife Donate Another $24,000 to Kasich

john-wolfe-OSU-SENR-630x400Dispatch Printing Company Chairman and CEO John Wolfe and his wife Ann donated another $24,000 to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s campaign last week, campaign finance records reveal.

John and Ann Wolfe each donated $12,000 to Kasich Taylor for Ohio last Tuesday, July 29, based on the campaign’s latest report to the secretary of state. The couple have now contributed a total of $59,000 to the Republican governor’s campaigns since 2010.

Continue reading

State, Bill Gates, Business Groups Push Common Core in Ohio

ohstandard-banner-630x400A coalition including the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio State Board of Education, and Ohio Chamber of Commerce is fighting to defend Common Core with help from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Currently, Ohio’s New Learning Standards use the national Common Core State Standards for math and English. Legislation supported by Ohio House leadership would rewrite Ohio’s standards and remove Common Core.

The Ohio Standard was launched to promote Common Core. Many of the coalition’s members — such as Thomas B. Fordham Institute — have a vested interest in guaranteeing Common Core takes hold. Continue reading

Ohio Teachers Union Calling for Big Labor “Phalanx”

North Eastern Ohio Education Association (NEOEA) will bash Big Labor’s critics and call for “all good union members to form a phalanx” at an annual conference this weekend, according to a conference agenda posted on the union’s website.

NEOEA, one of ten Ohio Education Association (OEA) regional districts, “serves members in 192 local professional staff organizations.” From 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on February 22, NEOEA will serve its members a large helping of reheated union rhetoric from the OEA Collective Bargaining Conference.

In a ”When Ideology Threatens Education and Educators’ Jobs” session, attendees of NEOEA’s Megaconference will learn ”the scope and main goals of key local and national anti-union and anti-public education groups pushing the corporate school reform agenda as well as the privatization of public schools.”

“We will explore key major opposition and corporate reform players, including the Koch brothers, Students First, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Tea Party Patriots, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and the Ohio School Board Leadership Council,” the agenda states.

The session will be led by OEA staffers Cristina Muñoz-Nedrow and Jeremy Baiman. Based on OEA’s latest report to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2013 Muñoz-Nedrow was paid $165,551 with money taken from teachers, while Baiman was paid $49,881.

NEOEA’s Megaconference agenda lists Leadership Development, Personal Development, and Professional Development tracks. Of 35 sessions, only “When Ideology Threatens Education and Educators’ Jobs” is listed as a “double session.”

In a “Look for the Union Label” session, representatives of AFL-CIO’s Working America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), AFL-CIO North Shore Federation of Labor, and other unions will discuss the importance of putting union considerations first.

“Now is the time for all good union members to form a phalanx,” the session description asserts.

“There is a war going on and it is against workers everywhere. Come and meet some of our brother and sisters. The members of this panel represent some of the many organized groups who are soldiers with us. It is essential that we as union members understand how we are connected. ‘Right to Work’ is the latest but not the last battle ground.”

In addition to telling members how to “form a phalanx” against the exact list of enemies OEA highlighted during its Collective Bargaining Conference earlier this month, NEOEA has planned an anti-workplace freedom session with the same content presented at OEA’s conference.

“Participants will examine the basics of the collective bargaining law, and look at why right to work arguments must be countered in order to preserve collective bargaining,” NEOEA’s Megaconference agenda states in the session description for “Right to Work: What’s Wrong with It?”

Right to Work laws only prevent unions from forcing workers to pay union dues or “fair share” fees, but don’t expect the session led by OEA Assistant Executive Director Kevin Flanagan to acknowledge that fact. Last year, Flanagan was paid $177,386 with money taken from Ohio teachers.

NEOEA’s conference will also tell union leaders how to pressure public school boards for contract terms on health benefits, planning time, and other issues.

In Leadership Development Track sessions led by Dan Ramos — who was paid $103,991 in teachers’ dues in 2013 — NEOEA conference attendees will also learn how to screen legislative candidates and encourage donations to OEA’s Fund for Children and Public Education (FCPE).

The post Ohio Teachers Union Calling for Big Labor “Phalanx” appeared first on Media Trackers.

Ohio Teachers Union Opens Yearly Conference With Communist Ballad

Ohio Education Association (OEA) President Becky Higgins began the union’s 2014 Collective Bargaining Conference this month with a performance of communist folk singer Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.”

Higgins was elected president of OEA in 2013 and took office last fall. OEA paid Higgins’s predecessor, Patricia Frost-Brooks, $218,751 during the union’s 2013 fiscal year.

OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks, who retired last December, was paid $226,669. The teachers union positions itself as the lone voice of downtrodden public educators, but OEA officers and employees are paid an average of $100,000.

When you’re paid more than double Ohio’s median household income with money taken from teachers’ paychecks, who needs a hammer?

Year in and year out, OEA is one of Ohio’s top political spenders. Because Ohio is a forced-unionism state, OEA can have public employees fired for declining to pay union dues.

The agenda for the February 7 and February 8 OEA conference in downtown Columbus included two “Exposing Our Enemies” sessions, citing a partial enemies list of “the Koch brothers, Students First, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Tea Party Patriots, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and the Ohio School Board Leadership Council.”

“Participants will also learn how to identify allies, enemies and key players in their own communities and how to engage members and partner organizations in defeating the corporate school reform agenda,” the description for the first session explained.

The agenda promised an explanation of “why right to work arguments must be countered in order to preserve collective bargaining” in the second “Exposing Our Enemies” session.

In addition to fighting school choice and workplace freedom, OEA currently faces a class-action suit brought by educators who claim the union and its affiliates illegally used “fair share” fees taken from their paychecks for political activity and other impermissible purposes.

Based on the terms of a pending settlement, OEA will be returning money taken from teachers whose mandatory fees were misappropriated.

Channeling Pete Seeger may give union bosses a chance to pretend the union stands for “progress,” but it also provides another reminder of OEA’s devout leftism.

Last month when Seeger passed away, We Are Ohio — a front for OEA and Ohio’s other labor unionsimplored fans to “join us in remembering Pete Seeger, the legendary folk singer and advocate for working people everywhere.”

Linking to a Seeger obituary at hard-left web magazine Salon, We Are Ohio added, “Pete Seeger knew that ‘right to work’ was wrong.”

A New York Times obituary noted that Seeger, a member of the Communist Party early in his career, “later criticized himself for not having left the party sooner,” despite still describing himself as a communist in the philosophical sense.

For decades, Seeger was an apologist for the Stalin regime. Seeger first performed “If I Had a Hammer” at a Communist Party event.

The post Ohio Teachers Union Opens Yearly Conference With Communist Ballad appeared first on Media Trackers.

School Choice Ohio Reflects on Policy Successes

School Choice Ohio participated in a number of National School Choice Week events from January 26 to February 1, part of an effort to increase educational flexibility for families and foster competition in a government-dominated industry.

“Participants in National School Choice believe that parents should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children,” National School Choice Week explained. According to the national group, 180 events were scheduled across Ohio in addition to thousands more nationwide.

“Supporters plan events that highlight a variety of school choice options — from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling.”

In a release, National School Choice Week President Andrew Campanella asserted that “there is a tremendous demand for more educational options for families in Ohio.”

School Choice Ohio noted that Governor John Kasich, a Republican, recognized School Choice Week in an official January 26 resolution.

Kasich’s resolution stated that “Ohio is front and center in the important work of giving all children access to quality education.”

In its latest state education report card — based on academic standards, school choice, home schooling regulations, and other measures — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gave Ohio a B, the same grade as Florida and Louisiana. ALEC gave Arizona, Indiana, and Oklahoma each a B+.

Media Trackers asked School Choice Ohio Communications Director Kaleigh Frazier where the organization believes Ohio has seen the most improvement in terms of school choice policies.

“Within the past few years, Ohio has experienced significant gains when it comes to school choice. The most recent would be the creation of the Income-Based Scholarship Program,” Frazier replied.

“There are many families in Ohio who know their children need another education option, but they cannot afford to make a change on their own. This program empowers those families to find a great school that is a great fit for their child.”

“Another significant school choice expansion was the creation of the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program,” Frazier continued. “Thanks to this program, parents of students with special needs are given the opportunity to mix and match services to provide an education that is specifically tailored to their child’s unique learning needs.”

Frazier also cited expanded school choice vouchers in Cleveland, a reform the Kasich Administration negotiated in conjunction with a costly levy in the long-suffering Cleveland school district.

“The increase in the high school voucher amount for the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program is another recent gain for school choice in the buckeye state,” Frazier said. “The increase in the high school amount helped to create more parity between voucher students in Cleveland and their counterparts in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.”

 Asked what policy or policies School Choice Ohio believes the state still needs to implement, Frazier replied, “At School Choice Ohio, we hope to see school choice continue to expand until every Ohio student has the opportunity to choose a great school that is the best fit for their learning needs.”

“We also hope to see the education landscape in Ohio continue to evolve and innovate to expand the types of quality education options available for students,” she concluded.

In recent years Gov. Kasich and the Republican-dominated Ohio General Assembly have increased flexibility for families whose only options historically have been to move or to pay for private school while still footing the bill for public school via their property taxes.

Ohio’s “progressive” movement, meanwhile, views decades of public school failure and millions in taxpayer money siphoned from public workers by unions as reasons to spend more on public schools, and public schools alone.

ProgressOhio, Policy Matters Ohio, and Innovation Ohio — all funded by public employee unions — regularly seek to discredit the entire concept of school choice by pointing out that some charter schools fail, and that some businesses profit from charters.

The post School Choice Ohio Reflects on Policy Successes appeared first on Media Trackers.

Health Industry Lobby Celebrates Gov. Kasich’s Obamacare Advocacy

National Council for Behavioral Health has honored Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) with its 2014 Elected Official Service in Advocacy award in recognition of his tireless promotion of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

The DC-based nonprofit joins entitlement spending supporters from Ohio’s health care industry, from the press, and from state-based socialized medicine lobbying groups in celebrating Gov. Kasich’s unilateral enactment of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Kasich will be officially presented with the award, which is sponsored by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, on May 6 at National Council’s 2014 conference in Washington.

The conference will be keynoted by Hillary Clinton and addressed by far-left former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) director Don Berwick. Berwick and President Bill Clinton were speakers at National Council’s 2011 conference.

Describing itself as ”the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and substance use treatment organizations,” National Council for Behavioral Health reported $20.5 million in revenue to the IRS for fiscal year 2011.

The nonprofit paid president and CEO Linda Rosenberg $489,525, paid executive vice president Jeannie Campbell and vice president of public policy Charles Ingoglia each $216,268, and spent $236,261 on direct lobbying during the fiscal year.

In its 2013 annual report, National Council recognized a list of deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Novartis as donors.

National Council counts Aetna, a health insurance and managed care company with a market capitalization of roughly $24 billion, among its national affiliates.

“As the healthcare reform debate raged, the National Council pounded the halls of Congress to ensure that increased access to mental health and addictions services would be at the core of any legislation passed, promising better treatment and supports for millions of Americans,” National Council’s 2009 annual report boasted.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, responsible for Obamacare’s disastrous rollout, was a featured guest at last year’s National Council for Behavioral Health conference in Las Vegas.

“Leading during challenging times, with painful budget cuts and Congressional gridlock, can present great opportunities, as demonstrated by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a remarkable leader who has faced many challenges in her tenure,” National Council’s 2013 conference program read.

National Council’s board is comprised of executives at state and regional mental health care facilities looking to rake in taxpayer money from the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and from Obamacare’s requirement that plans sold on government exchanges include coverage for addiction and other mental health issues.

The same is true of National Council’s members in Ohio.

The post Health Industry Lobby Celebrates Gov. Kasich’s Obamacare Advocacy appeared first on Media Trackers.