Should Ohio boost governor’s education power? No: State school board ensures accountability


Richard Lewis: HB 512 would diminish public input in education

Posted Mar 25, 2018 at 12:01 AM Updated Mar 25, 2018 at 12:22 AM The Columbus Dispatch

Should Ohio boost governor’s education power? No: State school board ensures accountability

Ohio lawmakers have introduced a proposal — House Bill 512 — that supporters claim solves Ohio’s education workforce readiness challenges. They say it would tackle complex issues like Ohio’s college remediation rates and would better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. Yet, nowhere in the 2,430 pages of the bill’s “fixes” are there any solutions to these problems.

Instead, HB 512 undermines the role and authority of Ohio’s State Board of Education by shifting nearly all of its duties to a new state agency called the Department of Learning and Achievement. It also combines the Department of Education, the Department of Higher Education and the Office of Workforce Transformation into this new agency created by the bill. As a result, members of the State Board of Education would no longer be acting in any significant way on behalf of the citizens they represent.

Seated atop this new agency would be a politically appointed, unelected and unaccountable executive director, hand-picked by the governor. This person would be given tremendous power and would be unilaterally responsible for creating, implementing and overseeing all aspects of our K-12 and higher-education systems. It is likely there will be frequent and extreme swings in education policy whenever a new governor is elected.

Our primary objection is that changing the current structure removes the transparency and accountability to the public that is currently embedded in the process. While the legislature will continue to pass laws related to public education, the implementation of those laws and the administrative rules that school districts live by would be dictated by the administration, rather than through an open process that allows citizens and stakeholders to participate in the education policymaking process.

This proposal signals a significant departure from our current system. HB 512 would move decisions about important topics like setting the state’s learning standards, graduation requirements and school-district report cards to a politically appointed staff as opposed to the current process that includes many opportunities for public input.

The bill’s supporters claim that no one knows who their elected representative to the State Board of Education is. So, they ask, “Why do we allow these unknown people to craft education policy?” By that logic, one must ask, “Who knows the members of the House and Senate Education Committees?” They’re the ones responsible for most of our education laws.

Supporters of the bill also say our state needs a renewed focus on job readiness. If this need to align workforce readiness to Ohio’s education system is so dire, then why hasn’t the governor appointed Ohio’s top education official — the superintendent of public instruction — to the governor’s own Executive Workforce Board? And, of the governor’s own appointees to the state board, why isn’t any an expert on workforce readiness?

Proponents conclude that this bill is a way to fix the education obstacles facing our state. Yet the answer to the problems facing education is not a massive reorganization of our state education agencies. Instead, the real solutions are in investments in early-childhood education and wraparound services that address the health and well-being of Ohio’s children. It’s an adequate and equitable school funding model. It’s empowering everyone from local districts to superintendents, principals, teachers and career-tech programs to make the decisions that best fit their own unique and diverse needs.

HB 512 cannot divert our attention away from our real education challenges by pretending that a new, unaccountable bureaucracy is the solution. This bill is bad for accountability and transparency, and it’s worse for our students. HB 512 is bad for Ohio.

Richard Lewis is chief executive officer of the Ohio School Boards Association, which seeks educational excellence by serving the state’s public school board members and their districts.

Educators are Asking for Loving Supports, not Weapons of Destruction

For decades, educators, parents and students have been pushing for the supports that provide young people with stability and give them evidence that our society cares about them and is committed to their success. Yet, evidence shows that we have cared more about assessing and standardizing our young people than institutionalizing the cross-sector supports that are necessary to create the types of loving systems where all students will have an opportunity to learn and thrive.

Source: Educators are Asking for Loving Supports, not Weapons of Destruction


Attached you will see a draft resolution that will be brought forward at the new business portion of our meeting next Tuesday, March 13th.  The resolution if adopted would express that the State Board of Education is in complete opposition to H.B. 512.

I am a co-sponsor of this resolution and can be reached at: or 513.310.8953




Member District 10, Nick Owens

WERECOMMEND that the State Board of Education ADOPTS the following resolution:

WHEREAS, we, the members of the State Board of Education affirm our constitutional charge to provide general supervision of the system of public education in Ohio. This system of education is a shared vision and responsibility with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the General Assembly, the Governor and education stakeholders throughout Ohio to ensure all students are well-prepared for success, for college and career readiness; and

WHEREAS, Article VI, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution, since its adoption in 1953 by the citizens of Ohio, states that there shall be a State Board of Education, which shall appoint a Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the respective powers and duties of the Board and of the Superintendent shall be prescribed by law; and

WHEREAS, the Ohio General Assembly, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 3301.07, has granted the State Board of Education policy forming, planning and evaluative functions for all public schools of the State of Ohio; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education provides the proper balance between state control and local education autonomy to maximize educational benefits for all of Ohio’s primary and secondary students; and

WHEREAS, such state educational policy decisions should be decided by representatives of the people they serve; and

WHEREAS, members of the State Board of Education stay in constant communication with students, parents, teachers, educational administrators and affiliated stakeholders through in-person meetings, community events, school visits, emails, phone calls, text messages, social media, and numerous other methods of communication, and as such serve as the direct voice to the Ohio Department of Education; and

WHEREAS, members of the State Board of Education are a unifying voice for solutions to the problems that severe poverty and trauma bring to the classroom, particularly in urban and rural settings; and

WHEREAS, members continuously lead robust discussions on how to achieve academically rich, healthy, safe and supportive learning environments so students can graduate ready for a successful future in their chosen paths of life; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education during the past seven months has engaged with more than 150 partners through the education community including but not limited to pre-kindergarten to 12th grade educators, higher education officials, business leaders, philanthropic organizations, local community members, and the Ohio General Assembly to create a comprehensive strategic plan for the entire State of Ohio; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education and Ohio Department of Education through the tireless leadership of Superintendent Paolo DeMaria has developed an inclusive, collaborative, and unifying stakeholder model for educational policy development as exhibited through the submission of Ohio’s Consolidated Plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the United States Department of Education; the establishment of the Graduation Requirements Workgroup which has resulted in additional graduation pathways for Ohio’s current Seniors; the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Assessments which has resulted in the reduction of statewide mandated assessments; the recent formation of a working group of stakeholders to fully analyze the Ohio School Report Cards in the Accountability and Continuous Improvement Committee; and most recently the State Board of Education and Ohio Department of Education Draft Strategic Plan Process for statewide stakeholder meetings that begins tomorrow, March 14, 2018; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education believes Ohio’s primary and secondary educational system, which includes more than 1.7 million students and 240,000 educators working throughout 3,500 school buildings across the state shall be one of partnerships amongst all statewide policymakers which leads to transformative learning opportunities and achievements for all students in our state and as a result will allow Ohio’s students to become the next generation of innovators and influencers who will go on to change the world—just as those who built our state’s incomparable legacy; and

WHEREAS, on February 14, 2018 in the House of Representatives of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly, H.B. 512 was introduced which would effectively consolidate the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation into a new mega state agency called the Department of Learning and Achievement which would be under the sole authority of the Governor of Ohio; and

WHEREAS, if such legislation was enacted into law it would fully eliminate the current structure of collaborative partnerships and policy development of educational stakeholders throughout Ohio; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education desires to make known publicly its opinion of H.B. 512; and

SO NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the State Board of Education through its inherent authority vested under Article VI, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution and Ohio Revised Code 3301.07 HEREBY states it is in complete opposition to H.B. 512 of the 132nd Ohio General Assembly and as a result instructs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to communicate this resolution as the official position of the State Board of Education.

Help Chart the Future of Education in Ohio: Review and Respond to Ohio’s Strategic Plan!

Mark Your Calendar for April 17, 2018

6-8 pm. (Registration opens at 5:30 PM)

Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency

1740 Langdon Farm Road

Cincinnati, OH 45237

Please RSVP BY MARCH 28 @

Please also share with your networks and on your social media!

Sponsored by Philanthropy Ohio, the State Board of Education, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Engage in community conversations to provide input on Ohio’s Draft Strategic Education Plan which will create a unified system that results in success for each student.

The plan will be Ohio’s roadmap for taking innovative approaches to meet the state’s major education challenges. It identifies a clear, statewide goal for preK-12 education, along with enabling strategies and tactics that explain how the goal will be achieved. The ultimate outcome: creating a unified system that results in success for each student.

During the last six months, the State Board of Education and the Ohio Department of Education have engaged more than 150 partners from preK-12, higher education, business, philanthropy, community and the state legislature to craft a comprehensive strategic plan for education. This is the first prepared by the state in more than a decade.

Philanthropy Ohio, in partnership with the State Board, will host 11 regional stakeholder meetings to review the plan and receive targeted feedback that will inform the final draft of the plan.

These meetings are an opportunity to gather valuable input from various perspectives, including local educators, funders, parents, students and community members. The meeting will include an introduction from State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, a brief overview of the draft plan and group discussions around specific provisions and options. Discussions will focus on the plan’s vision for education, goal for high school graduates and strategies in teaching and learning that will enable the goal and fulfill the vision.


Please contact Adrienne Wells at 614.914.2249,

On Facebook at Pat Bruns for State Board of Education

On Twitter @VotePatBruns

“Great things do not just happen by impulse but as a succession of small things linked together.” Vincent Van Gogh

Board Update!

Hi Public School Advocates!

It has been a very busy first quarter!  I am spending my time visiting local school districts, career and tech centers, parent groups, and other who know much more than me about important issues facing our students.

As I told my fellow board members, upon arrival in January, “I’m not here just to attend meetings”. I will continue to use whatever leverage I have to advocate for policies that will ensure that all of our children, mo matter their zip code, have access to high-quality educational opportunities.  To that end, a number of us on the board have already formed a Pro-Public School Caucus and are working in a more concerted effort on some of the most critical issues before public education;  adequate and equitable funding for public schools, fair and effective teacher evaluations, and whole child education. I am also currently reaching out to folks in the know about early childhood education and  strong supporter of high-quality universal preschool for all children.

The latest vote about the so called Rule 5 of 8 as outlined in the following link, best describes the current situation in Columbus.

Please stay tuned in and push friends to my web and Facebook page at Pat Bruns for State Board of Education. Together we CAN make a difference!

Respectfully, Pat