Ohio Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee
Proponent Hearing – November 29, 2022
Chairman Blessing began by announcing the substitute bill to replace the one-page placeholder that has been on the Legislature’s website since May of 2021. The sub bill was described as over 2100 pages in length. At the time of writing this update, the sub bill is not yet available through the committee’s site. Once it becomes available, a more substantive summary of the content will be provided.
This bill is extraordinary in its importance because it removes almost ALL of the responsibilities of our (partially) elected State Board of Education and hands them over to an unelected Director of the new Department of Education and Workforce.
Video of full hearing: Click Here
(The portion of the hearing that is relevant to SB178 begins at about the 30-minute mark.)
You will get a good sense of the perspective of the witnesses today by listening to the first two speakers. Begin at the 30-minute mark and listen for about 18-20 minutes.
These witnesses are looking for a “renewed and heightened emphasis on career and technical education.” Pay particular attention to the question posed to the second witness regarding the lack of opportunities for the “public voice” when a public body is moved into a Cabinet agency. The answer given is incredible – “democracy rests with the local school district.” While this is true for local policy, it has no relevance when the public loses elected representation in state policy.
While we firmly believe that career and technical education is very important – almost everything shared in testimony today can be accomplished without dismantling the duties of the State Board of Education.
If this bill passes, all students and their families lose elected representation. This is critically important for home educated students and non-chartered nonpublic students whose administrative rules currently rest solely with the State Board of Education.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Brenner requested that committee members be available next week (on Monday and Tuesday) for additional hearings. It is possible that one of those days will be scheduled for opponent testimony. As soon as we have confirmation, we will provide an update.
Submitted by Melanie Elsey, Legislative Liaison for CHEO