Lisa Gray, President, LGA Consulting, LLC


The Big Lie In Ohio’s Education Policy - Part I

How Self Appointed Experts Have Gotten Rich and Powerful While Destroying Ohio’s Schools

By Scott Pullins


There is an often quoted propaganda term frequently cited as the Big Lie.  It has several variations, and the true author of it is unknown, but essentially the phrase is that “if you tell a lie big enough, and often enough, then it becomes true.”


In Ohio’s recent experiment with Common Core and higher standards in schools, a variation of this Big Lie has helped lead to the destruction of our education system as we have long known it.  And what is this Big Lie you ask?  3rd Rail Politics once again takes you behind the scenes.


In simple terms, Ohio’s Big Lie in education policy is that the experts know better.  These veritable, self proclaimed geniuses, frequently gushed about in Senate Republican Caucuses and committee meetings, simply know better than local parents, teachers, and school boards how to educate Ohio’s children.


Over the past year, 3rd Rail Politics has taken you behind the scenes to help show you the real motivations of these so called experts.  We’ve shown you how the powerful Thomas B. Fordham Institute thinks that Ohioans are idiots, that one so called expert is Peggy Lehner’s sister, and how Fordham would benefit from the policies it has enacted.


Today, 3rd Rail Politics would like to show you even more with Part I of our series on how these self appointed experts have gotten both rich and powerful off the system.  Let me introduce you to Mrs. Lisa A. Gray.


Lisa A. Gray is President and the sole employee of LGA Consultants, LLC, an Ohio limited liability company that she formed in 2005.  She apparently operates it out of her home in the Dublin suburbs.  She has no website, no swanky downtown office, no Facebook page, and very little online presence.  In fact, her Linkedin page is set to private.  She has an education degree from Indiana University and worked as a teacher in public schools in Indiana until she moved to Ohio in 1989.


Somehow though, she has parlayed that background into being the Ohio voice of the powerful foundation formed and funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.  That relationship has made Lisa Gray both rich and powerful through a web of connected organizations, all while Ohio’s school rankings continue to plummet.


For example, publicly available tax records show that she and her company have been paid a whopping $745,939 between 2010 and 2015 for her work for Philanthropy Ohio.  Gray is a lobbyist for Philanthropy Ohio, a group which has received millions from the Gates Foundation to lobby and build coalitions for Common Core.  Much of that work is done through coordination of a coalition called the Ohio Standard, which is the new name in Ohio for Common Core.


At the same time Gray earned as much as $265,832 for her work for the Thomas Fordham Institute between 2014 and 2015*, even though she never registered as a lobbyist for them.  In 2003 and 2004 she earned another $208,589 as a lobbyist for Battelle for Kids, another group that had received millions from Gates.


Meanwhile, while being paid to lobby the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Department of Education, Lisa Gray and her company were also working for the Department.  In 2013 she was paid $1,159.15 by ODE for work on Race to the Top Funds.  In 2012 she was paid $7,500 for her work with the Broadcast Educational Media Commission, another state agency with an education focus.


But that’s not all folks.  From 2001 through 2014, she lobbied for the Ohio Business Roundtable, yet another group that has received millions from the Gates Foundation.  Unfortunately, even though the group reports spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on consultants, their tax returns do not break out the amount paid to Mrs. Gray.  


Starting in 2014, Gray also began to lobby for Teach for America, yet another nonprofit group that has reaped millions from the powerful Gates Foundation.  Gray’s individual take isn’t broken down on this group’s reports either but they did spend nearly $600,000 on lobbying during her first year there.


Finally, Lisa Gray is an at large member, along with Fordham’s Chad Aldis, of an Ohio nonprofit called Groundwork.  Groundwork recently hired former State Senator Shannon Jones, Peggy Lehner’s best friend in the Ohio Senate, as its new Executive Director.


Are you all beginning to see the big picture yet?  If not, let us point it out for you.


An incestuous little group of liberal, self anointed experts, funded with Bill Gates’ money, have hijacked Ohio’s education system for power and profit.  The question is, will the Ohio General Assembly let it continue?

*Tax records indicate that the 2015 payment was made to a company named LGA Consultants in Virginia.  However, 3rd Rail Politics believes this was an error and the money was likely paid to LGA Consultants in Dublin, Ohio.