—For Immediate Release—-
Contacts: Mallory DeTota, firstname.lastname@example.org, (216)-543-3510
CONTINUED EDUCATION FAILURES IN THE OHIO STATE LEGISLATURE
As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, a bill introduced by Republican Bill Reineke in February that would have merged the Ohio Department of Education, Department of Higher Education and the Department of Workforce Transformation has been “put on ice” due to the widespread opposition from both Republicans and Democrats alike.
House Bill 512 would not only create an education mega-agency but would also shift 80 percent of the power of the partially-elected state school board to an appointee of the governor. When the bill was first announced, two prominent state officials whose departments would have been impacted denied any knowledge of the proposal. This included State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria and Chancellor John Carey. Since then, concerns have been expressed about the bill by various groups, including the Ohio School Boards Association, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and numerous homeschool proponents.
Reineke’s opponent for house district 88, Democrat Rachel Crooks says of this issue, “This education bill is a prime example of a representative not consulting with relevant parties, and simply pushing forward his own agenda. I’m glad the representatives in Columbus are putting this on hold; it’s unfortunate that it even got to this point without stakeholders being considered and consulted,” Crooks said.
This bill is not the only example of an education failure brought on by Republicans in Columbus. The state is still dealing with the fallout from the for profit charter school, ECOT, which stole almost $1 billion from Ohio taxpayers. The state school board, which would have been dismantled with this bill, is one of the only entities that tried to hold ECOT accountable.
Interestingly, Reineke is now co-sponsoring House Bill 707 with Representative Keith Faber, which will create a study group to review the ECOT scandal. Bill Reineke has yet to explain the over $12,000 in donations he accepted from ECOT-founder, BIll Lager, despite numerous Republicans, including Representative Faber, unloading their ECOT-linked donations amidst this scandal.
“Democrats in the Ohio legislature have been trying to call attention to accountability for for-profit charter schools for many years now, while Republicans looked the other way and accepted donations from individuals linked to ECOT. That these same people would try now to pretend like they care – because it’s an election year – should infuriate the taxpayers whose dollars were lost and the students who were failed by poor education policies.”