August 22, 1998


Deliver directly to:
The Honorable Richard Riley
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW R.O.B. 6
Washington, DC 20202

Deliver directly to:
The Honorable Alexis Herman
Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20210

RE: National School-to-Work Office issuing misinformation

Dear Secretaries Riley and Herman:

On June 22, 1998, I sent you a letter concerning disturbing events that took place at a National School-to-Work meeting held in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 14-18, 1998.

In light of the fact that my eviction from the meeting was at the hand of School-to-Work operatives, I cannot fathom why you thought it appropriate to instruct the NSTWO to reply to my previous letter.

In response to my demand to know under what authority I was ousted from the meetings, NSTWO operatives inaccurately paraphrased an exception to The Federal Advisory Committee Act, part of the The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (also known as Senate Bill 1), as the basis for barring me from the meeting, saying,

"In passing the Act, Congress carved out an exception to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) allowing State and Federal officials to meet without public participation to exchange views and advice relating to the management and/or implementation of intergovernmental responsibilities or administration."

Even if such language was law, and it clearly is not, my participation as an elected member of the Ohio State Board of Education could not be construed as "public participation."

The correct wording of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 reads:


(a) IN GENERAL- Each agency shall, to the extent permitted in law, develop an effective process to permit elected officers of State, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) to provide meaningful and timely input in the development of regulatory proposals containing significant Federal intergovernmental mandates.

(b) MEETINGS BETWEEN STATE, LOCAL, TRIBAL AND FEDERAL OFFICERS- The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to actions in support of intergovernmental communications where--

(1) meetings are held exclusively between Federal officials and elected officers of State, local, and tribal governments (or their designated employees with authority to act on their behalf) acting in their official capacities; and

(2) such meetings are solely for the purposes of exchanging views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of Federal programs established pursuant to public law that explicitly or inherently share intergovernmental responsibilities or administration.

Accordingly, attendance of an elected officer is essential for the exception to be valid. Excluding elected officials, such as myself, renders the exception null and void. Furthermore, the letter from NSTWO misleads readers into thinking that just "two sessions" were involved when in fact one so-called session lasted a full day!

So tell me, and the American people:

  • By what authority did Mr. Charner, Ms. Lynn, Ms. Powers, and Mr. Woolfolk bar me from the meetings?
  • Why was it imperative that the public’s business be conducted behind closed doors?
  • If STW is indeed good for kids and essential for the good of the economy, why must the details be kept hidden from public scrutiny? and
  • Why did NSTWO reply to me, and to members of Congress and State Legislators, with misinformation? I reiterate: your people are out of control.

In closing, I will refresh your memory by repeating a sentence from my June letter: "Ms. Lynn, Ms. Powers, Mr. Woolfolk, and Mr. Charner should be fired and their positions filled by people who have a firm understanding of, and respect for, how representative government is supposed to work. " I stand by that statement and truly marvel that instead of firing, or severely reprimanding Ms. Powers, she has been appointed Director of the National School-to-Work Office. Apparently, you thought her actions worthy of promotion; few would agree.

Please see the attached FOI Request. I look forward to your letter of reply and a timely response to my FOI request.

On behalf of my constituents,


Diana M. Fessler
Ohio State Board of Education -- Third District
7530 Ross Road
New Carlisle, OH 45344


U.S. Senator Trent Lott
U.S. Senator John Ashcroft
U.S. Senator Michael DeWine
U.S. Senator John Glenn
Congressman Newt Gingrich
Congressman Dick Armey
Congressman Tom DeLay
Congressman John Boehner
Congressman Henry Hyde
Congressman Peter Hoekstra
Congressman Lindsey Graham
Broadly distributed to interested parties

Comments herein do not reflect the official policy of the state board unless specifically indicated.

New page

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I, Diana M. Fessler, elected member of the Ohio State Board of Education, do this date, August 31, 1998, formally request that your respective agencies and/or representatives send me following materials:

In the broader context of the development and implementation of education restructuring and economic development:

    • the list of all grants available, and the list of grants awarded, by the DOL, DOE, and NSTWO as well as a list of all disbursements by those entities for STW and related activities by date, amount, vendor, purpose, and the RFP/SGA’s linkage from the inception of STW to the present, including those run through DTI Associates, the Academy for Educational Development and other such entities;
    • the list of all grant money (public & private) received by the DOL, DOE, NSTWO to develop standards, assessments, certificates, School-to-Work and other related projects;
    • correspondence from 1993 through the present (including e-mail) between and among the U. S. Department of Labor and its divisions (including the NSTWO) and the U. S. Department of Education and its divisions (including the NSTWO) and the following individuals or entities:
      • the Ohio Department of Education; the Ohio STW Office; Ohio STW Regions Four and Five; Technical Assistance providers assisting Ohio with STW; state, regional & local reports submitted from Ohio; the Office of the Governor or Lt. Governor of Ohio; the President of the United States; the National Governor’s Association; ACHIEVE; Education Commission of the States; the Council of Chief State School Officers; the National Skill Standards Board; the National Center on Education and the Economy; OERI; ACT; the National and Ohio Business Roundtables; the U. S. and Ohio Chambers of Commerce; and the National Council of State Legislators
        • regarding STW in any of its configurations or manifestations, including, but not limited to, development, pursuit of legislation and/or amendments, analysis, data collection, budgets, standards, assessments, certificates, marketing plans, communication, strategic plans, conference and meeting schedules, High Schools That Work, JTPA, WorkKeys, sustainability, etc.
    • A list of all reports, analyses, and evaluations relative to the development, implementation, funding, sustainability of STW as well as copies of all reports to Congress;
    • A complete index and site map of all pages on the NSTWO web site including those for internal and external "closed loop" use including restricted pages; and directions on how to access those less accessible pages.

Diana M. Fessler 7530 Ross Road, New Carlisle, Ohio 45344 (937) 845-8428




Diana M. Fessler 7530 Ross Road New Carlisle, OH    45344
(937) 845-8428 FAX (937) 845-3550 e:mail: diana@fessler.com