Legislation (S.B.1) to restructure and rename the Ohio Department of Education as the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) is moving through the legislative process.

Ohio Department of Education overhaul bill progresses

After the Senate passed S.B.1 in a party line vote with Republicans supporting it and Democrats in opposition, the bill was assigned to the House Economic and Workforce Development Committee, with its companion bill (H.B. 12) assigned to the House Primary & Secondary Education Committee.

Key provisions of the bill would:

  • Rename the state Department of Education as the Department of Education and Workforce (DEW)
  • Create the position of the director of education and workforce – appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate as the agency’s top leader
  • Establish within DEW the Division of Primary and Secondary Education, and the Division of Career-Technical Education, each headed by a deputy director
  • Transfer most of the powers and duties of the State Board of Education and the superintendent to the DEW director position
  • Retain the powers and duties of the board and superintendent regarding educator licensure, licensee disciplinary actions, school district territory transfers, and certain other areas

The plan to restructure the newly named DEW with two divisions – Primary and Secondary Education, and Career-Technical Education – isn’t without controversy.

Reassigning most of the State Board of Education’s responsibilities to DEW, which would be a cabinet agency reporting to the governor, isn’t supported by:

  • State Board members
  • Ohio School Boards Association
  • Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding (the organization behind the lawsuit in which the Ohio Supreme Court first ruled Ohio’s school funding formula unconstitutional in the late 1990s)
  • Ohio Education Association
  • Ohio Federation of Teachers
  • and others

Ohio’s business community generally supports the overhaul, including:

  • The Ohio Chamber of Commerce
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • Advanced Manufacturing Consortium
  • Ohio Excels
  • and others

Passage and enactment of ODE overhaul legislation is a priority to both the Senate President and the House Speaker. Adkins & Company will share more information on the overhaul bill as it progresses through the legislative process.