Ohio State Board of Education Considers Controversial Proposals, May Be for Last Time – WOUB | Team Cansler

Ohio State Board of Education is reviewing controversial proposals, possibly for the last time

By: Jo Ingles | Statehouse News Bureau

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The Ohio State School Board’s Executive Committee will meet Monday morning to consider whether to support a controversial resolution that violates a new federal policy requiring K-12 schools in Ohio to follow LGBTQ antidiscrimination guidelines in order to secure federal funding for Getting things like school feeding programs.

Protesters before the Ohio State Board of Education meeting on October 12, 2022. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]

But there is now a new factor that could be taken into account in decisions about whether to support a resolution at all and which of three proposals should be adopted – the composition of the school board will be different next year.

Two teachers’ unions last week focused on three of the five seats up for grabs in a bid to beat Conservative board members. Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper said the members she targeted were pushing a political agenda that contradicted the well-developed strategic plan for K-12 schools.

“We saw that there were people on the state school board who were against some of the core principles of that plan, like equity, social-emotional learning, whole-child learning, things that really matter to our teachers and our students’ condition. So the three open positions had been filled by people who had been fighting those problems. So we looked for candidates who support public education and believe in it, share the same public education values ​​as we do, and those candidates were Katie Hofmann, Tom Jackson and Teresa Fedor,” Cropper said.

Fedor, who spent 22 years in the state legislature, resigned as a senator on October 30. Before she went into politics, she was a teacher. and during her tenure she worked on or sponsored many K-12 education bills. Fedor said she decided to return to her roots and serve on the state school board after watching some members push what she calls a political agenda.

“They don’t obey the Constitution, they don’t bother with business, and our children deserve better. Our citizens deserve better. They’re just stepping over the cliff in terms of politics and culture wars from Washington, DC, and it’s hurting our communities,” Fedor said.

Jenny Kilgore, one of the board members who was defeated at the ballot box, had been appointed to the position by Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican. At a recent Executive Committee meeting, she spoke out in favor of considering a proposed resolution that would oppose the Biden administration adding LGBTQ protections to Title IX and programs running under it.

“The Biden administration, as part of the executive branch, exaggerates its power and lacks the authority to make such changes. I clearly, like the majority of my constituents, do not support expanding the parameters of the federal version of Title IX,” Kilgore said.

Kilgore and several others said they are supporting a resolution backing a bill in Ohio’s legislature to bar trans athletes from competing on women’s athletic teams. And they supported Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost in his lawsuit, along with several other states who are suing the Biden administration over the change.

A concern voiced by some board members is that schools that receive federal dollars for school feeding programs will have to investigate complaints of LGBTQ discrimination or risk losing those funds.

Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro, whose union also supported the three winning candidates, said he didn’t know how the election might affect a decision on whether to support a resolution.

“I would hope that the majority of the state executive would look at the election results and back off and say, ‘Maybe that’s not what the voters want. Maybe they want us to focus on how to make all students successful, rather than finding ways to attack some of our most marginalized students.” I certainly would hope so, but we’ll see. But there may be some who are saying, ‘Hey, we’re getting ready to leave the board,’ and so they want to make sure they enact some of these extreme measures before they go,” DiMauro said.

But the members who support these proposals do not consider them extreme. Conservative board members have spoken of this as a parental rights issue. They’re going to be talking about it a lot at this last scheduled school board meeting of the year.

As members discuss this, some Republicans are talking about making a change to require partisan designations next to school board members’ names in the future.

A newly elected member of the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee, Josh Culling, said on Twitter that he “thinks it’s time to put party affiliation on the ballot for State Board of Education nominees.”

At this time, there are no pending bills in the Ohio Legislature that would do so. But the Ohio legislature passed legislation last year mandating this appointment of judges, and this November the Ohio Supreme Court justices ran for the first time with their party affiliations. All three Republicans running for that court won.

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