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Very very unfortunate for everyone that Debe Terhar did not take the advice of the Anti-Defamation League when it explicitly wrote:

As a public figure she should know better.  We hope that Ms. Terhar will retract the comparison and apologize.  She should make clear that Holocaust comparisons are inappropriate and a terrible distortion of the history of World War II.

Thanks to reporter Matt Bruning’s tweet from this morning’s Ohio Board of Education meeting, you can read precisely what Ms. Terhar had to say – and you will not see the words “Hitler” “Holocaust” “history” or “World War II” in it:

This is incredibly unfortunate – that in a state of 11 million people, and at least 3 million children in public school, the person who is the president of our public government body charged specifically with improving public education in Ohio (I read the ORC on their duties last night), Debe Terhar continues to refuse to see or perhaps just lacks the competency to see how the content of her Facebook posting is the problem, not her “mistake” for sharing it somewhere where the public might see it. Her characterizing the Facebook posting as “hasty” contradicts her prior statements that said she was only trying to get people to be thinking.

This is incredibly bad precedent to set. How on earth will Debe Terhar have the ability now to lead the board to a “healthy consensus” for kids’ best interests, let alone judge with any credibility what far lower level education system people do given that she’s suffered zero consequences?

Although I absolutely do not question the integrity of a number of individual members of the State Board of Education and in fact am grateful for their speaking out and stepping up, I have no faith in the entity’s credibility so long as Debe Terhar is its leader.  This is not what Ohio needs or deserves if it wants to play the game of attracting people here. Education is almost always the first thing many people look at when considering where to live.  Her inability to recognize the wrongness of referencing Hitler as she did, whether the public sees it or not but simply as a matter of what educated people should not do, chills me to the bone and I know it affects many, many people the exact same way.

Scary, scary stuff at the top of education system.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 12:26 pm February 11th, 2013 in Education, Ohio, Politics 


4 Responses to “Statement from Ohio Board of Education President, Debe Terhar, on Hitler Facebook Post”

  1. 1 Jerry Thompson on February 14th, 2013 11:17 pm

    Well written! What can I do to help bring pressure to bear on this woman…and the (mostly appointed) board members who also do not recognize her ineptness?

  2. 2 Jill Miller Zimon on February 15th, 2013 9:12 pm

    Jerry – here’s something fascinating: State Rep. Ron Gerberry is seeking to change the balance of elected versus appointed members of the school board, to neutralize some of the partisan ideologies currently exposed. I’d like to keep an eye on this – what do you think??

    From my inbox:

    Rep. Gerberry Seeks Changes to Voting Membership of State Board of Education
    HB 58 creates electoral boundaries that coincide with congressional districts

    COLUMBUS – State Representative Ronald V. Gerberry (D-Austintown) has introduced legislation that will change the voting membership of the State Board of Education to consist of a member from each of Ohio’s Congressional districts.

    “I believe it is in the best interest of public education that the State Board of Education return to an elected board with districts small enough that constituents know who their board member is,” stated Rep. Gerberry.

    Currently, the State Board of Education is made up of 19 members, 11 of whom are elected and 8 of whom are appointed by the Governor. The chairs of the education committees of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate serve as non-voting ex officio members, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction serves as secretary of the Board.

    “If there is an even number of such electoral districts, the Governor shall appoint an additional member to serve as president of the Board” said Rep. Gerberry. “This member would vote on board matters in the event of a tie among other members of the Board. If there are an odd number of districts, the Governor shall not appoint a president, and members of the Board will elect a president among the voting members elected from one of the congressional districts.”

    HB 58 has been assigned to the House committee on Education for further consideration.

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