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Ohio Senate Passes Historic Education Oversight Bill

Brings Accountability to Department of Education and State School Board
March 1, 2023
Matt Huffman News

COLUMBUS—The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 1 today, an historic overhaul and realignment of the responsibilities and duties of the Department of Education and State Board of Education.
“For too long, the Department of Education has operated free from effective oversight and accountability,” said Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima.) “Ohioans would be surprised to learn that ODE doesn’t answer to the Governor’s office or members of the General Assembly, and has been able to ignore questions and delay implementation of laws passed by the General Assembly. The reforms in SB 1 will provide much-needed enhancements to our education system that will improve transparency, accountability and outcomes for our children.”

Among the changes, the bill would rename ODE as the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW.) The State School board would still exist but most of its powers and duties, and those of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, would be transferred to DEW. 

This new department, DEW, would be a cabinet agency with a Director nominated by the Governor, subject to the Senate’s advise and consent approval. That would put DEW under the authority and supervision of the Executive Branch, and its Director would be subject to a vote of approval by the Ohio Senate.

“The State School Board basically operates part time, and does not have the resources, time and expertise to make sure the Department is doing what it has been directed to do," said President Huffman.
The effort to reform the organizational structure of the Department of Education has been discussed and supported by both Republican and Democrat administrations for decades.
“Parents understand that results matter. If I can’t get answers, and my colleagues can’t get a phone call returned from the education bureaucracy, then the Department and School Board aren’t accountable. It is time we create a system that is accountable to Ohio’s parents and students,” said President Huffman.

Senate Bill 1 will now be considered by the Ohio House. Read more here.