Ohio Legislation is positioned to move all major duties of the State Board of Education to an UNELECTED appointee of the governor.
Sponsor: Senator Bill Reineke
Introduced: May 11, 2021
SB178 (link below) has been sitting dormant in the Ohio Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee since its introduction last year. It now appears there will be an effort to push it through the legislative process before the end of the session.
SB178 will move all of the major policy decisions of our partially elected State Board of Education to a new NON-ELECTED cabinet agency under the sole authority of the Governor and will Remove All Elected Representation on all regulations affecting public schools, private schools, and home education.
This bill is identical in concept to the 2018 bill, HB512, which did not pass due to substantial public outcry.
What makes the process more challenging today is that there is no language available to the public for review of SB178. The only available version of the bill, at the writing of this alert, is a one-page placeholder version expressing nonspecific intent. Similar legislation in 2018 (HB512) was over 2000 pages in length. The only clues we have to the policies being proposed are in the sponsor’s testimony offered to the Senate Education Committee on Nov. 15, 2022.
As described by Sen. Reineke in testimony, SB178 would do the following:
• “Create” a state cabinet-level agency called the Department of Education and Workforce that would have a dual focus on primary/secondary education (including preschool) and career-tech.
• This new UNELECTED agency (DEW) would be led by a Director appointed by the Governor.
• The DEW would have two divisions, both headed by deputy directors who will sit on the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board.
o Division of Primary and Secondary Education
o Division of Career Technical Education
• The DEW will be responsible for enforcing existing regulations and adopting new regulations.
• ALL DUTIES of the State Board of Education (except enforcing teacher licensure; the disposition of cases involving teacher/staff misconduct; and school district territory transfers) will be shifted to this new DEW agency.
(There are TWO proponent hearings scheduled for SB178 this week (linked below) that we will be monitoring for additional information. Scheduled hearings this week: Link There is no need for testimony this week as we are not proponents of the bill.)
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED THIS WEEK – PHONE CALLS / EMAILS ONLY
Please contact your state senator and members of the Senate Education Committee to request that this shift of authority NOT be supported. Please respectfully express (in your own words):
Points of Concern:
1. SB178 takes away elected representation on policies affecting all of Ohio’s students and their families.
2. The State Board of Education was amended into the Ohio Constitution in 1953. It is not even conceivable that voters intended for this board to be stripped of almost all of its authority and only left with disciplining teachers and territory transfers!
3. Ohio has students whose education is governed ONLY in the Ohio Administrative Code – home educated students and non-chartered private school students. It will be a huge disservice to each of these students and their families to put their fate in the hands of an unelected bureaucratic director that could change every 4 years with a new governor.
As always, we appreciate your support and action on behalf of home educating families across the state. We will provide follow-up alerts (through social media, CHEO website and e-alerts) as SB178 moves through the legislative process in the next couple of weeks. Please be ready to respond as needed and keep this issue in your prayers.
Link to SB 178:Click Here
Link to find your state senator and his/her contact information. Fill in the box labeled “Who Represents Me”. Click Here
Link to the members of the Ohio Senate Education Committee with contact information. Click Here
Do you know who represents you on the State Board of Education? Here is a link to a map of the 11 elected districts – scroll to the bottom of the page. Click Here
If you would like to watch the hearings live-streamed this week, click on this link and scroll to the Ohio Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee (Tuesday at 3pm and Wednesday at 2:30 pm or after session) Click Here