Q&A: Proposed Merger of Ohio Education, Training Agencies

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Republican Gov. John Kasich has long pushed to take over Ohio’s education department, viewing its more independent structure as a hindrance to unified school policy.

A bill moving swiftly through the Legislature includes that takeover and more.

Legislation sponsored by Republican Rep. Bill Reineke, of Tiffin, would merge the Ohio Department of Education, which oversees K-12 schools; the Ohio Department of Higher Education, which oversees colleges and universities; and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.

They would become a new Ohio Department of Learning and Achievement, which would report to the governor.

Critics of the proposal, including teachers’ unions, have been packing hearings about the bill. They argue it creates a cumbersome bureaucracy that would be less accountable to school administrators, teachers, parents and the public.