Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Did the Ohio Board Just Try To Stonewall Critics?

Today was supposed to be a day for the public to offer testimony about the Ohio State Board of Education's proposed cutting of elementary specials requirements, after the proposal cleared a board committee yesterday. Things did not run so smoothly.

Board President Debe Tehar started off the day by announcing that public testimony would be delayed so that Ohio Ed Department staffers could explain the change first. That presentation was already scheduled for today, but this move bumped it to the top of the schedule.

Board member Debbie Cain asked Tehar to explain why people who had taken a day off of work to testify were being pushed back (which presumably could include being pushed back to a time commonly referred to as "tomorrow"). Now maybe the shift was just an attempt to pre-emptively explain things before people could complain about them, but that's not what Tehar said. What Tehar said was nothing.

Board member Ann Jacobs called point of order (parlimentarianese for "I call shenanigans"), and Tehar replied, "I'm the president. I can commit shenangians as I see fit." (I'm paraphrasing)

At this point four board members (Jacobs, Cain, A. J. Wagner and Stephanie Dodd) walked out of the meeting. Wagner lead the charge, he indicated, because of the schedule change and the ignoring of a board member.

[Update: The Dayton Daily News added these details to that special moment:

When Terhar said it was within her authority to change the agenda, a member of the audience called out that the board should vote on the matter, and that if the schedule changed, many in the audience would have to leave.

Terhar told the audience member that she was welcome to leave at that moment.

At that point, Wagner stood up and said, “I’ll leave.” Board members Cain, Stephanie Dodd and Ann Jacobs joined Wagner in walking out of the meeting.

Board member Mary Rose Oakar again asked Terhar to reconsider, but Terhar instructed members of the Ohio Department of Education to begin the presentation.

So I think the "screw you" message from the board president comes through loud and clear.]

The Columbus Dispatch filed this story at 12:12. Public testimony was supposed to begin at noon. No word yet on who or if that is going.

So it looks like this is not going to run smoothly, and that the board is not exactly in agreement about how to handle it. But trying to squeeze public testimony out  the mix by forcing people to sacrifice many work days for the possibility that they may or may not make today's schedule-- that would be a pretty low move.


  1. But a move not beneath an unscrupulous State Board of Ed.

  2. BOEs are nothing if not skilled at stonewalling and bamboozling. They do it in negotiations all the time. It's second nature to them.