Proposed New Agency Could Shift Influence on Education

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A Republican state lawmaker has proposed putting Ohio’s governor fully in charge of K-12 education.

A bill proposed Wednesday would join Ohio’s departments of Education and Higher Education and a state workforce development office as part of a new Department of Learning and Achievement. The governor would appoint its leader.

The propose would leave the mostly-elected state Board of Education, which oversees the Education Department, with some oversight responsibilities but less policy influence.

Rep. Bill Reineke, of Tiffin, says his plan could improve accountability and the responsiveness of Ohio’s public education system to 21st-century workforce needs.

Some Democrats call the idea a “mega-department of education” that would increase bureaucracy and enable more influence from politics and special interests. Groups representing school officials raised similar concerns.