Public Education Governance
Updated: Mar 13
The Ohio Constitution establishes a system of common schools and assigns funding responsibility to the state legislature. The Constitution also calls for a state board of education and a superintendent of public instruction to provide oversight for the operation of public school districts and implementation of state education laws. The State Board appoints the Superintendent.
The state board is a policy-making body for the administrative arm of education governance, the State Department of Education.
The 1953 State Constitution established a 19-member state board of education. It gave the Governor authority to appoint 8 members. The state is divided into 11 school board districts, and voters elect state board members to represent their districts. This allows for elected members to be vetted by voters for their knowledge, views, and expertise to serve as education leaders. This representative body also means that the diverse and unique experiences and needs of different regions of the state help inform policy. It is a representative system that allows public input both into who makes policy, and in the policy making process.
SB 1 introduced in January of 2023 and approved by the Senate in March, if approved by the House, would changes the name, focus and structure of the State Department of Education, and shift most of the policy and regulatory powers of the State Board of Education and Superintendent to a Governor appointed cabinet member, the Director of the Department of Education and Workforce.
The same governance change was rejected in the final days of the 134th General Assembly. It is a controversial change that reduces representation in policy and regulation decisions, concentrates power in the hands of one person, shifts emphasis from democratic purposes of education, to workforce development, and opens up policy to political interference and partisanship.
LWVO Positions on Public Education
Focus on Advocacy
Adopted January 198
1. LWVO supports the continuation of a State Board of Education which should be elected rather than appointed.
2. The primary responsibility of the State Board of Education should be policy making/planning
3. The primary responsibilities of the State Department of Education should be administrative and regulatory.
· Retain state board of education powers.
· Elect all members of the State Board of Education.