The Ohio Senate passed a bill on March 3rd which would rob the state school board of most of its power. The bill is currently in the House.
It would rename the Ohio Department of Education to the Department of Education and Workforce(DEW) with a director who would be a member of the governor’s cabinet. In other words, it would take education out of the hands of educators and put it in the hands of politicians. Currently, the Department of Education reports to the Ohio State Board of Education whose duties would be reduced to appointments, licensure, employee business, employee conduct, and territory transfers.
With the passage of SB1, Ohio’s supermajority Statehouse and governor would control public education policy, budget funding with little oversight or accountability. It introduces partisanship into Ohio’s current non-partisan education system. It will allow the governor’s cabinet to prioritize its own political agenda.
Another part of SB1 weakens homeschooling requirements despite the efforts of Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Sen. Catherine Ingram(Dem-Cincinnati) who have called for stronger oversight.
State Board member Michelle Newman stated, “ The people of Ohio put the State Board of Education in place to ensure there was a level of oversight and accountability and to provide a stage for public feedback in both the rules and policy making process. SB1 does none of this.”
This bill is a way that the Republicans are robbing Ohio citizens of access to making decisions for the public schools that they support.