Guest update from Melanie Elsey.  Please see the previous post for background information on HB512.
The Fundamental Concern with HB512 is the transfer of authority of all regulations governing the education of ALL Ohio students from a State Board of Education that has ELECTED representation to the UNELECTED Director of a NEW MEGA-AGENCY – the Department of Learning and Achievement.
In both the press conference on HB512 and in the sponsor testimony for HB512 this agency is described as controlling education policy from “crib to career” and “birth to work”.  This suggests an open-ended or unlimited grant of authority with no real public accountability.
HB512 has been assigned to the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee.
The first hearing for sponsor testimony was held Tuesday, February 20.
A copy of the sponsor testimony can be downloaded at the following link.
The Government Accountability and Oversight Committee will hold the second hearing on HB512 for PROPONENT testimony in Ohio Statehouse, Room 114, 1:00pm.
A copy of the full committee agenda can be downloaded at the following link:
1. Spread the word to friends and family regardless of where their children attend school.
Call your elected representative and ask friends and family to do the same. If you don’t know who represents you contact your county board of elections and find out.  (Or look up your state representative here at
The core message is – Our legislators should not be taking away our voice when it comes to regulations affecting our children!
This is an election year and there is no policy change more critical than this one – the “consent of the governed” is a constitutional principle that should not be abridged for any reason!
2.  Contact the members of the GAO Committee and ask them to oppose HB512 on this core principle.
Government Accountability & Oversight Committee Members
Chairman Louis Blessing III – (Co-Sponsor of HB 512) (614) 466-9091
Vice – Chairman Bill Reineke (Sponsor of HB 512) – (614) 466-1374
Kathleen Clyde (Running for State Office) – (614) 466-2004
Riordan McClain (replacing Keith Faber 2/22) – (614) 644-6265
Timothy Ginter – (614) 466-8022
Dave Greenspan – (614) 466-0961
Brigid Kelly – (614) 466-5786
Bernadine Kennedy Kent – (614) 466-5343
P. Scott Lipps – (614) 644-6023
Dorothy Pelanda (Co-Sponsor of HB 512) – (614) 466-8147
Bill Sietz – (614) 466-8258
Ryan Smith (Running for House Speaker) – (614) 466-1366
Martin J. Sweeney – (614) 466-3350
3.  Make plans to stand in opposition to HB512.
Once the proponent testimony is received by the committee this week, the next logical hearing would be for “opponent testimony.”  This committee generally meets on TUESDAYS.  Committee notices are generally posted on the committee website by the end of day on the preceding Friday. (same link as above)
There needs to be a HUGE public response when the OPPONENT hearing is scheduled.  Not everyone attending needs to testify, but anyone who wants is free to do so.  Whether you offer testimony or not – we need to fill the hearing room, the hallway outside the hearing room, the atrium around the corner of the hallway, and even outside the building.
The earliest logical date Chairman Lou Blessing could choose to schedule the opponent hearing would be Tuesday, March 6.  But please consider coming whenever it is scheduled – and keep your Tuesdays generally available since there is no way to predict which week it will be held.
Please keep your communications respectful.  Points can be made firmly but respect is a measure that goes a long way in helping your perspective to be heard.
3 key points that proponents are making that need to be clarified.
1.  Proponents say – HB512 does not eliminate the State Board of Education. We can still contact the board to express our concerns and opinions.
Reality – The State Board of Education can’t be eliminated. It’s in the Ohio Constitution. What HB512 does is strip the board of ALL of its duties affecting the education of children, leaving the board with “quasi-judicial” functions of issuing and revoking teacher licenses, territory transfers, etc (a pretty short list).
2.  Proponents say – Most people don’t know who their elected member of the State Board of Education is, so why does it matter?
Reality – It is OK if I don’t know who my SBE member is.  If an issue arises I know how to find out.
A lot of people don’t know who their state representative or state senator is, but that doesn’t mean we should get rid of the legislature.
3.  Proponents say – The Director of the new Department of Learning and Achievement will be appointed by the Governor and the Governor can be held accountable to the public.

Reality – When there is a concern with policies that affect school safety, autistic children, gifted children, special needs children, state testing, data privacy, graduation credentials, inappropriate materials in state model curricula, or infinitely more issues affecting how children are educated do we think we can call up the Governor and ask to meet with him/her?

Elected state board of education members are much more accessible than the governor because their districts are smaller and they are often in the districts meeting personally with constituents.
The more important point is not that the Governor is elected, but that the SBE member is more accessible.