Lifelong Republican scorches GOP legislators for chasing her out of school post over anti-racist statement
Ohio Department of Education

The head of Ohio's state board of education resigned under pressure after the GOP-controlled state Senate indicated she would not be confirmed, and the lifelong Republican blasted them in a scathing op-ed explaining her departure.

Laura Kohler stepped down as board of education president over her refusal to repeal an anti-racist resolution, after GOP state senators made clear she would be removed in a growing nationwide panic over so-called critical race theory driven by Fox News and conservative activists, and she blasted their decision in an essay published by The Columbus Dispatch.

"As recently as mid-October, the governor's office was pleased with my leadership, recognizing the challenge of maintaining a moderate course with a polarized board," she wrote. "On Oct. 28, I was asked by DeWine to resign because, I was told, Sen. Matt Huffman had the votes to keep me from being confirmed. Appointed board members serve at the pleasure of the governor. Not resigning was not an option."

Kohler blamed the change of direction on the resolution to condemn "racism and to advance equity and opportunity for Black students, Indigenous students and students of color," which passed by a 4:1 margin in July 2020 with the support of all appointed Republicans on the board, but she said its stated goal of recognizing and reducing discrimination to ensure better equality within Ohio schools had been twisted by her fellow Republicans to advance a dishonest agenda.

"The board's Resolution 20 fell victim to those who seized it as a weapon to advance a political point of view," Kohler wrote. "In hours of testimony and hundreds of emails, opponents asserted that the resolution endorsed critical race theory, prohibited the teaching of our country's founding documents, was racist toward white people, was intended to make white children feel guilty about their heritage and was leading our schools to socialism, communism or Marxism. None of these claims is true."

The resolution's stated goals -- condemning racism and advancing equity -- shouldn't even be controversial, she added, but had been made so by partisan opportunists.

"Politics, not meeting the needs of children, is driving educational policy these days," Kohler wrote. "And anyone who doesn't get on board, even fellow Republicans, may be escorted from the arena."