Boy were we surprised when we found out that Stan Heffner not only got a last minute interview this morning for the state school superintendent job – but he actually got the job!
I can’t help but wonder if this still would have happened if we had filed our ethics complaint against Heffner earlier in the process. Of if that would have just gotten him on the list (and away from ETS) sooner.
Either way, Heffner was forced to address the complaint today, and his response is pretty – well – bad.
In short, our complaint alleges the following:
- While working as the interim superintendent for Ohio’s schools, Stan Heffner accepted a job offer from Educational Testing Service (ETS) – the company that provides teacher testing to Ohio.
- Three weeks later, Heffner used his official position as superintendent to represent himself as an expert and provided testimony to the Senate Finance Committee regarding House Bill 153 and specifically recommended that the committee adopt a provision that would expand teacher testing and direct 2.2 million dollars annually to ETS
- Heffner provided opinions that contradict previously published documents from the Ohio Department of Education and at no point during his testimony did he declare his relationship with ETS nor the financial benefit to ETS as a result of the passage of the legislation.
Ann Sanner of the AP followed up with Heffner:
Heffner told reporters that his testimony before the committee references how the budget contains among its provisions the need to test teachers at low-performing schools.
“There is no quid pro quo,” he said. “The type of work I was going to do with ETS is student assessments. These are teacher assessments. It’s a completely different division. I would have had nothing to do with it.”
He said he has touched no contracts with ETS in his role. “I have done nothing with it,” he said. “So for this blogger to fabricate charges for whatever his agenda, I think, is despicable.”
According to Gongwer, Mr. Heffner also claimed that his testimony “was written by his staff”.
I think Heffner’s “staff” should probably have help him craft a better response, because this one – to put it bluntly – sucked.
For starters, it hardly matters WHAT he would be doing at ETS. The fact that he accepted their job offer, then went in front of the Legislature and voiced his support for legislation that would financial benefit his future employer is completely inappropriate and, yes, dare I say “despicable”.
And his other claim – that he didn’t even write his own testimony? Is that supposed to be some kind of excuse?
Oh… jeez… sorry… I went in front of the legislature and read off some statement that someone else wrote, so you’ll have to excuse me if I accidentally promoted legislation that would provide my future employer millions of state dollars.
Not an excuse.
The only thing that might have made this go away would be Heffner not taking the job with ETS. And 12 hours after we filed our complaint, that seems to be exactly what happened. It is unclear exactly what led up to Heffner suddenly being considered for the Superintendent job but I’m guessing it might have something to do with his support for Kasich’s education agenda and maybe, just a little, to do with our ethics complaint.