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.
Due to travel and illness, I’m very sorry to be unable to attend this morning’s Ohio Board of Education meeting. I have emailed this statement to every board member, Governor Kasich, J.C. Benton (the Board’s communications person) and both the State House and Senate Education committee leaders. I hope it will be read into the record.
Statement of Jill Miller Zimon, resident of Pepper Pike, Ohio
Ohio Board of Education meeting
Monday, February 11, 2013
In the matter of Board President’s use of a photograph of Adolph Hitler
I know what it is to be an elected official who took an oath to faithfully perform duties in a non-partisan seat. As a city council member, I constantly contemplate how all my constituents, regardless of whether they voted for me or not, rely on and expect me to act with their best interests in mind. However, today, I speak as a parent, taxpayer and resident of Ohio.
The current president of the Ohio Board of Education, an elected official whose constituents include literally millions of children who have no vote, has irreparably compromised faith in her ability to perform her duties, as she has sworn an oath to do, on behalf of this nonpartisan, public, government body and all Ohioans. This lack of faith is a direct result of her intransigence in refusing to recognize and publicly express how wrong she was to offer up a photograph of Adolf Hitler, allegedly to provoke thought on gun policy. In the absence of this faith, the Board president must step down or be removed as leader of this Board.
As the Anti-Defamation League has stated specifically in regard to the Board president’s inflammatory posting,
“Whatever one’s position on the gun control issue, analogies – whether direct or implied — to Hitler and the Holocaust have absolutely no place in the debate over gun control,” said Martin H. Belsky, ADL Cleveland Board Chair, and Nina Sundell, ADL Regional Director. “While one can disagree with the Obama Administration’s position on gun control, comparisons of his proposals to Hitler’s trivialize the memory of the six million Jews and the millions of other who perished in the Holocaust and are deeply offensive to Holocaust survivors.
“Clearly Ms. Terhar needs an education about the history of the Holocaust,” added Mr. Belsky and Ms. Sundell. “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.”
The social media aspect of this incident has served primarily as a costly distraction to the critical work of this Board. It has also exposed an unacceptable lack of sophistication on the part of the Board president in regard to how social media work and demands implementation of Board social media policies and training.
I thank you for your time and attention and respectfully urge you to act in the best interests of all Ohioans: Please either remove Debe Terhar as Ohio Board of Education president or, I say to Ms. Terhar directly, step down now as Board president and give this public body a chance to rebuild and earn the credibility your presence as Board president keeps in doubt.
Still haven’t heard back from the governor but I did get a distinctively unprofessional email from State Board of Education member, C. Todd Jones, one of the governor’s appointees (apparently he has a predilection for writing unprofessional emails to constituents) and a mostly formulaic email from Debe Terhar saying that notice requirements related to a public meeting would keep her from saying anything before the February 11th board of ed meeting a week from today. I respectfully responded to her that she certainly doesn’t need to wait for a special or regular meeting to take action.
Feel free to comment there as well.
Thought for the weekend: Maybe we’re hearing people drop literary equivalents of bombs – shiny distracting explosive objects – in the midst of debates about complicated issues precisely because the issues are so complicated. And isn’t it easier to follow the shiny object and debate that? But if anything, we should note those explosions as red flags that tell us 1) just how critical it is to keep our focus on the issue and 2) just how critical it is that we hear each other, work toward and achieve solutions. Dropping shiny explosive objects into tough discussions is a tell about a lack of interest in getting to a solution. Know it, call it out and get back to the discussion that needs to be had. I just so happen to know a place where that’s exactly the mission.
By the way, did people realize that the originating incident came at the beginning of National No-Name Calling Week (my emphasis):
No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.
No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled “The Misfits” by popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the “Gang of Five” (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Though they lose the election, they win the support of the school’s principal for their cause and their idea for a “No Name-Calling Day” at school.
Motivated by this simple, yet powerful, idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition, created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, and consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized an actual No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation during the week of March 1-5, 2004.
What an interesting twist of fate is that?
I’ve sent this letter or a very near version of it to every member of the State Board of Education of Ohio, to Governor Kasich and to State Senator Lehner and State Rep. Stebelton who are Ex Officio members of the state board. I’ve had phone calls with both Mary Rose Oakar and with Ann Jacobs, both board members (Mary Rose is my state rep for the board and originally I only sent the letter to her). I’ve received a more or less pro forma email from Ms. Terhar stating that there’s not enough time to give notice for a special meeting so she says that she will speak on February 11. I wrote her back to assure her that she has a right to speak before that if she wanted to tell us she’s stepping aside as the board president and going for sensitivity training and social media bootcamp, rather than hide behind a rule. No meeting of the board is needed for her to announce a decision. Maybe for a vote on it, maybe, but certainly not if she wants to tell us all about it. In any case, my letter pretty much says it all. Also, if you are able, the next regular meeting is Monday, February 11 at 8:30am. It is a public meeting – please try to attend. They’re at the School for the Deaf in Columbus, 500 Morse Road.
Dear Board Member Oakar,
My name is Jill Miller Zimon and I’m a resident of Pepper Pike and therefore in your School Board district. My three children have attended the Orange schools, and two are still there (oldest is now in college). I’ve been dedicated to public education my entire life and find wholly unsatisfactory Ms. Terhar’s inability to comprehend that her actions this week have been inappropriate, offensive, inaccurate and unworthy of someone whom you and your colleagues have placed in the position as the nominal and actual leader of our state’s top public body related to the education of millions of Ohio children.
I realize that unless you were absent, you must have voted to affirm Ms. Terhar’s place as president of the Board (my understanding is she was re-elected to being president unanimously), but clearly the Board must possess better alternatives among the remaining 17 of you (I note that there is one at-large vacancy at this time). For if there is not a better option at this time than Ms. Terhar, we should all be questioning the fate of our state’s education system. I am asking you to do everything within your power to remove Ms. Terhar as president of the Board and install a member who can appreciate the wholly inappropriate actions and reactions of Ms. Terhar.
In addition, I would urge that the following steps also be taken:
1. Social media policy for the Board members be reviewed, modified and adopted as necessary.
2. Social media training for the Board members be designed, implemented and required for all Board members.
3. Sensitivity training be procured and implemented with all the Board members. Facing History and Ourselves is an outstanding, award-winning program that could be contacted, but groups like the Anti-Defamation League as well as the NAACP and I’m certain many others (we have the Diversity Center here in Cleveland) could also handle such an assignment. Read more
Stories don’t get any better than this one, Susie Porter, who once ran the Town Fryer restaurant, is heading off to college — at the age of 54, and the fact that I actually have a teeny connection to it (Bloggapalooza 2006) – enough that I cried three times reading the story and again while leaving a comment for Susie on her blog, Tips for Going Back to School For Adults and Non-traditional Students – makes it even more fabulous.
Please read that whole article, visit Susie’s blog, spread this information and thank her for her chutzpah, stamina and contributions. All before she’s even set foot on that college campus.
Supporting actor awards to Tri-C and Cornell’s admissions office, from what it sounds like, not to mention many others I’m sure Susie feels helped her along the way.
Just imagine what Susie may be doing after she graduates!
WARNING: Expletives used.
Here in Northeast Ohio, Monday morning shattered when news of a high school junior shooting several of his schoolmates started streaming into my inbox via news alerts.
At 8:18 a.m., I read: Breaking News: Report: Geauga County Sheriff’s Department and OSHP heading to Chardon High School (the original item isn’t even there anymore, there’ve been so many updates)
I didn’t have to read another word before saying the trifecta out loud to an empty house, “G-ddamnit. Shit. Fuck.”
Even as I write this, my stomach cramps up, my lower lids fill up and I bite my lip drawing in a huge sigh.
I thought that the first thing I’d write about in this post would be about what we know. But ha. Really — just ha. Because I also think about all that we don’t know. And what of either category simply doesn’t matter?
For anyone wanting to keep up or catch up, so far, the best source for information has been the Cleveland Plain Dealer and you can find all their reports on the Chardon shooting here. I’ve heard multiple news outlets congratulate them throughout the week, and I’d say they’re deserving.
The last several months have been extraordinarily busy ones for me as I find and hit a groove with my work at The Civic Commons on behalf of the EfficientGovNetwork. You can check out what Jill built, with some very excellent assistance from the Civic Commons team, here and can join us in person to see what we’re working toward this Thursday at an afternoon hour-long City Club Forum:
Local Government 2.0
Ohio’s State Budget and What it Means
February 2 @4:30pm
The $112 billion state budget Governor Kasich signed in July 2011 is in full effect. The budget cut $2 billion to local governments and schools; repealed the estate tax and included an expansion of charter schools. The votes were along party lines- Democrats criticized the budget for including too many cuts and GOP legislative leaders praised the budget for filling in a multi-billion budget shortfall.
The City Club, in partnership with The Civic Commons, ideastream and
The Plain Dealer, will examine the state budget as well as educate the community on the policies and programs proposed to help municipalities.
Moderated by: Joe Frolik, The Plain Dealer
Randy Cole, President, Ohio Controlling Board; Policy Advisor, Kasich Administration
Kathy Mulcahy, Mayor, Orange Village
Tony Paglia, VP, Government Affairs, Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber
*Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance of the event. Reservations will be held 15 minutes past start of program, such as 12:15 for noon programs. Reservations will then be open to standby ticketing.
$20 Non Member
Reservations Toll-Free at 888-223-6786 or locally at 216-621-0082
Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to pass this on to folks whom you think might want to join us.
Just received in my inbox – thank Mr. Frank!
Dear Orange Schools families and staff,
On Thursday, January 19th, students in Mrs. McGeown’s 7th grade enrichment science class will be participating in an all day field experience on the Orange Schools Campus. This experience has been planned since last May and relates to the topic of forensic science. Please be assured that if you see students, police, K-9 search and rescue teams in the woods, or on the school campus this Thursday it is part of a simulation and not an actual emergency.
Thank you for supporting the Orange Schools!
Brady Middle School
Mike McIntyre and Ohio.com are highlighting a University of Akron course, Campaign Battleground, that will be offered Thursday evenings for 2.5 hrs, 14 weeks with John Green, Gerald Austin and Mark Weaver starting this Thursday (1/12/12) that sounds like a political junkie’s dream:
This course is about the 2012 American national elections, with a special focus on the presidential campaign. In the spring of 2012 the course will focus on the primaries. We will follow the campaign carefully and investigate the strategy, tactics and conduct for the major contenders in “real time,” that is, as the campaigns are taking place. A special focus will be placed on Ohio, a key battle ground state. No class March 15, 2012 spring break.
If I could find that kind of time, I’d be blogging a lot more about the same and other topics but if you go, please consider starting a blog and writing about the class and how it’s making you think, etc.
From the Indianapolis Star article, “Can private companies turn around failing schools?”
So why do states consider this [for-profit charter schools] route? Mathis said it’s good politics.
“It’s pretty much across the board that these things do not work, but that doesn’t keep them from being politically popular in some places,” he said. “It looks like, ‘By golly, we’re going to show them. We’re going to get tough.’ ”
He and other critics say Indiana doesn’t need to look far to see some of the problems. In Ohio, the state and 10 schools are suing a for-profit charter school operator, White Hat Management, complaining that the schools are failing and the company won’t account for how it has spent the $230 million in taxpayer funds it has received.
MAKE THEM RUN THE OTHER WAY, MITCH! And listen to your own:
Dale Chu, assistant superintendent for policy at the Indiana Department of Education, said Indiana has learned from the experiences of other states and won’t make the mistakes of trying to do too much too fast, as happened in Philadelphia, or fail [sic] to keep state oversight, as appears to have happened in Ohio.
Read the whole thing, “Backlash: Are These End Times For Charter Schools?” but here’s a teaser:
Meanwhile in Ohio — a state with a troubled charter school sector since their legislation was passed in 1997 —Republicans are trying to weaken oversight and accountability, preferring to leave these issues to the marketplace. It’s a surprising strategy because most analysts agree that oversight is in large part to blame for the mixed record of charter schools in that state. Many Ohio charter school advocates are fighting the proposed changes, but are facing an uphill battle.
Just to reiterate: there are, we know there are examples, in Ohio, of very good & excellent nonprofit charter schools. It is the pay to play for-profit operators that have successfully seduced, with its millions of dollars given to primarily Republican politicians and get a pass to literally write and re-write Ohio’s laws to favor their bottom line, with our tax dollars, that upend, besmirch and embarass those of us who want to support the array of ways in which kids’ educational needs can be met – and should be met.
More on how awfully these schools perform in Ohio, just three days ago in the ABJ. There are so many moves made by people elected to take care of ALL Ohioans that make me feel outraged – and I am one of the luckiest Ohioans.
There are so many ways to teach kids these days when it comes to nearly any subject. Increasingly, I find myself saying to my kids, especially when they ask me something that I know I can’t answer all that well (if at all, once in a while), “Why don’t you Google it?” or, “That sounds like something you should look up on the computer.”
We’re still a card-carrying library kind of family (just last week I got a new card and this week, I am waiting for a 1954 book by Eleanor Roosevelt, Ladies of Courage, that will be delivered to my suburban Cleveland branch library from a Toledo library, all courtesy of the integrated Ohio Internet catalogue system). But the Internet can’t be beat for speed and variety, especially when it comes to different teaching tools – text, visuals, audio, interactive sites all contribute to the answers.
So, given all these resources at our fingertips, you really have to ask why Scholastic, as in the Scholastic book fairs parents and kids all remember (as well as textbook and picture book and chapter book fame) went this route to educate our kids about the coal industry. From yesterday’s New York Times article, “Coal Curriculum Called Unfit for 4th Graders”: Read more
UPDATE: Via Plunderbund, here’s an excellent Ohio.com editorial from today that chastises the Ohio House Republicans’ latest shenanigans with charters and demands that someone in elected office step up and stop it.
And he’s not saying this in a good way, at all. And he is not fringe and he is not alone.
Read the entire article in the Dispatch today, “GOP bill reduces charter schools’ accountability.”
And then be sure to refresh your memory of how White Hat Management, the most notorious for-profit charter school operator in Ohio, received $17 million of your money for ghost students.
Oh, and before you go on, recall the editorial from the Cincy Enquirer in 2009 about how money and charters don’t mix.
On what planet in what universe do some of these people elected by Ohioans, charged with spending Ohioans’ tax dollars, LIVE ON? (And Josh Mandel – you support charters, who clearly support you – what do you have to say to this evisceration of accountability with our money, given that you are the Ohio Treasurer? Fascinating note – the news article that reported on Mandel’s appearance at Ashland Univ. where he reportedly mentions support for school choice, charters and the elimination of the estate tax is now available only in its cached form.)
This quote from the lobbyist for White Hat and its chief, David Brennan, is textbook rhetoric, obfuscation and scamming:
[Tom] Needles said the charter-school concept is to allow greater flexibility and fewer restrictions so schools can be innovative and improve student learning.
Letting the Ohio Department of Education grant permission for charter schools to open and eliminating sponsors will direct more money into the classroom and remove another layer of bureaucracy, he said.
Let’s get something straight: The layer that needs to be removed is the FOR-PROFIT layer that sends my money into David Brennan’s profit coffer that then ends up back in the millions of dollars he gives to the very elected officials who are championing his garbage legislative proposals to help him earn more profit, not direct money to classrooms. Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:37 am May 3rd, 2011 in Courage, Crime, democracy, Education, Government, John Kasich, Josh Mandel, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Transparency, treasurer, Youth | Comments Off
From Ann Sheldon of the Ohio Association of Gifted Children, an absolutely relentless champion for Ohio and Ohio’s students. I’ve printed out the list of Senate Finance Committee people and contact information. Please do the same and look at your schedules for time to provide testimony in writing and/or person:
Advocacy Update – 5.2.11 And Now We Wait (and Prepare for Senate Finance) — Thank you to everyone who testified, emailed and phoned House Finance Committee members over the past week. You may stop calling now! Amendments to the budget have been submitted. House leadership will likely meet to decide what is in and what is out. Tomorrow they will meet at 4:00 PM to accept an omnibus amendment, which is a very long amendment filled with a variety of smaller amendments that have been accepted by House leadership. There may be a few additional amendments offered by Republicans, and then the Democrats will begin to offer their amendments, all of which will likely be “put upon the table.” This is a procedure which avoids a negative vote on the amendment, but essentially sets the amendment aside without consideration. While I know there are a few amendments that have been submitted to help us, I do not know if they will be accepted or not. I will let you all know when I know. Read more
And not just funding, but, literally, any trace of literal or figurative support for there to even be gifted education in Ohio. The current version of legislation being considered by the Ohio House will almost completely eviscerate any and all acknowledgment that students with such educational needs even exist: it guts the requirement that our state even identify children as having this category of educational need – and potential.
Who would propose, support and vote for people who would gut even the requirement to asses kids’ specific learning needs, at all – regardless of what end of the learning spectrum they are on?
Please. Read this advocacy alert and save our students and state. Barely 10 years ago, when Bob Taft was in office, this state showed great vision and understanding of the role these students play in Ohio’s future – and the role Ohio should play in these students future.
If Governor Kasich, House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus, and other Republican recipients of for-profit charter school money (a movement which potentially may be receiving these literally tens of millions of dollars being completely pulled from gifted education) get their way, these students’ future will be erased as ever having been a priority – high, low, or anywhere in between.
From the Ohio Association of Gifted Education Action Alert, 3/17/11 (in part, but please – read it all):
I should note that in the governor’s town hall meeting on the budget on Tuesday, a father of a gifted child asked why the gifted funding was eliminated. The governor’s education policy director, Bob Sommers indicated that gifted education remains a high priority and that gifted funding was maintained. Tim Keen, the director of the Office of Budget and Management, then said that districts all gifted funding in the basic aid funding for gifted children and will have to make the local decision about how to serve these students. Governor Kasich then took the microphone and said that Ohio is in the bottom ten of all states for having money in the classroom and the in the top ten for having bureaucracy. He recommended that if a parent has a gifted child that the parent should go into the local superintendent’s office and stand up for their child by demanding services. The interesting response seems to indicate that perhaps the unintended consequences for the gifted budget recommendation may not be fully understood by the governor and his staff. As gifted education is a small and unusual part of the education budget, that isn’t too surprising. But it does need to be fixed if gifted services are to be maintained in the majority of districts in the state.
Sigh – I’m not even going to respond to Kasich’s recommendation – thank goodness Ann addressed it very, very diplomatically (I would not have).
I’d been watching the action alert page anxiously last week and am glad that I’ve gone back to the twitter feed of OAGC’s Ann Sheldon (on Twitter, @anngift) to see that an alert has now been posted.
Here’s what you can do (and what you know I’ll be doing), also from the Action Alert: Read more
Yesterday, I was the speaker at the Strongsville Youth Commission’s Modern-day Talk on Gender Equality. The audience ranged in age from elementary or middle school through seniors – not just in high school but as in our senior citizens. They let me talk for quite a while and then we discussed several deeper issues related to this topic. Their grasp and concern was as great as anyone would wish for. My goal was for them to leave with more questions than answers, and I do believe that was achieved, especially since, just on my way out, a few attendees were continuing to ask questions!
It was a delightful event and I’m grateful for having been asked to participate. Many thanks.
Was just getting on the literal treadmill and heard the news. Wow. And he just had his contract extended for three years. Hmm. Television says there will be a press conference in an hour – might have to do an extra long time on the treadmill so I can see it. There’s a video at the heard the news link of Kim Wheeler interviewing Sanders about this development.