Rep. Blessing Supports Legislation Aligning Ohio's Education System With Workforce Needs
House Bill 512 makes state more accountable in preparing students for demands of 21st century economy

COLUMBUS—This week, State Representative Louis W. Blessing III (R-Colerain) expressed support for legislation aimed at better aligning Ohio’s public education system with the state’s workforce needs, as well as making the state more accountable for achieving results.

House Bill 512 would create a new cabinet level agency called the Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement (DLA), which will consist of the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. This structural change is not expected to have a direct impact on local school boards or school districts.

“House Bill 512 is great legislation in that it seeks to consolidate departments in order to better coordinate efforts and reduce the Silo Effect,” said Rep. Blessing, who is co-sponsoring the measure. “This should help streamline education policy as the lines between K-12, higher education, and career tech are blurring in a more tech-oriented and ever evolving workplace.”

By forming a unified, cohesive department to oversee all education and workforce development policy, Ohio will be more fluid and flexible in preparing the state’s 1.7 million students to succeed both educationally and professionally, as well as to meet the workforce needs of the rapidly changing 21st century economy.

Under the legislation, the director of the DLA will be appointed by the governor with consent of the Senate. The director will have the authority to appoint deputy directors where deemed appropriate for purposes of streamlining pre-K-12 through workforce policy development and implementation.

The legislation makes no membership changes to the State Board of Education, but brings its duties more in line with other state boards and commissions and keeps its functions consistent with the state constitution. That includes primarily quasi-judicial responsibilities, such as regulating teacher licensure and educator misconduct. The State Board also will continue to appoint a State Superintendent.

Furthermore, the State Board of Education, State Superintendent and Ohio Department of Education staff will maintain the authority to:
• Revoke a district and/or school charter
• Issue educator licenses
• Establish payments in lieu of transportation determinations
• Make territory transfer determinations
• Supervise and administer Ch. 119 administrative proceedings regarding community schools and sponsors
• Determine the permanent exclusion of students
• Sponsor community schools in accordance with state law
• Oversee the state schools for the deaf and blind
• Administer other miscellaneous Ch. 119 administrative law proceedings

House Bill 512 will be referred to a House committee for further review.


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