Can Ohio’s Government Schools Be Saved?

By Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall

This important Ohio Capital Journal article reports on the dramatic shift on Ohio K-12 education system. Although we may be celebrating now because their appears to be Governor with a “R” after his names, what happens when a “D” is holding the Governor’s seat? We have “fingers crossed” that this will get the Ohio’s public education system back to its former top tier status. Unfortunately, we are not big believers that the government schools can be saved. Sending them back to the one room schoolhouse, replaced by homeschooling, may be the only viable solution.

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Judge rules overhaul of Ohio K-12 education can begin, DeWine names interim education director

by Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal
October 20, 2023

Control over Ohio K-12 education can officially start to transfer to Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration after a month-long battle in court. 

Retired Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Frye denied a preliminary injunction request to stop the transfer of power of K-12 education from the state school board to the governor’s office on Friday, the last day the temporary restraining order was in effect. 

“I am thrilled that the restraining order has been dissolved and we can focus on the important work of moving forward to help our kids be better prepared for life after high school, whether choosing additional training, beginning a career, or heading to college,” DeWine said in a statement Friday.

Under the state’s two-year budget, the Ohio Department of Education becomes the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, which creates a cabinet-level director position and puts the department under the governor’s office.

Jessica Voltolini will be the interim director of the Department of Education and Workforce starting Monday, DeWine said.

“She will lead the department as we resume our search for the director and deputy director positions,” he said.

Voltolini most recently served as the Ohio Department of Education’s chief of staff and she was one of two candidates former interim superintendent of public instruction Dr. Stephanie Siddens recommended to fill her role when she left the department earlier this year. The state board of education picked Chris Woolard as the interim state superintendent. 

The new law also reduces the State Board of Education’s power to teacher disciplinary and licensure cases and territory disputes. The state board of education no longer has various administrative powers or control over curriculum standards.

Seven members of the Ohio State Board of Education originally filed a lawsuit against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Sept. 19 in an attempt to block these changes from taking place. Judge Karen Held Phipps issued the temporary restraining order Sept. 21, which was eventually extended until Oct. 20.

“The temporary order we won to stop Gov. DeWine’s education takeover from going into effect was dissolved and an interim order was issued,” Democracy Forward, the plaintiff’s legal counsel, said Friday afternoon in a statement. “We await a final decision on our request to block the law while the case proceeds, and we are confident that democracy and the Ohio Constitution will ultimately prevail.”

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Categories: Education, State of Ohio

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