By The Associated Press
Toledo Blade. October 7, 2023.
Editorial: Executive for education
Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to take oversight of education policy in Ohio from the State Board of Education has run into conflict with state law that could derail it. It should survive. Ohio needs executive oversight of education, not rule by committee.
A state judge has ruled that there is a strong likelihood that the General Assembly violated the “single subject rule” that prohibits unrelated items being passed as part of the same bill.
The state Board of Education, seeking to preserve its power over state education policy in Ohio, has filed suit, and a Franklin County judge has agreed that there is a likelihood the board’s suit will prevail.
Right now the situation resembles less the lofty deliberation of education policy among solons and practitioners than it does a three-way car wreck, with Ohio children and families the accident victims.
A judge’s excessively complicated ruling leads us to think the judge should have either stayed out of the dispute, which we think judges should do more often, or issued a simple order maintaining the whole of the pre-existing state Department of Education in place until the legal issues are resolved.
Ohio’s constitution bars the mingling of unrelated topics in a single bill. The creation of a cabinet Department of Education and Workforce is a budget topic, and under that heading a court may allow the bill to pass the “single subject” rule. The second complaint filed against the legislation is that it violates the 1953 constitutional amendment that created the state Board of Education and gave it the power to appoint a “superintendent of public instruction.”
Again, the hoary experts of legal jurisprudence will make the call, but our reading is that the Constitution is not violated here.
The amendment adopted by voters was that a newly created state Board of Education would appoint the superintendent of public instruction. The duties of the board and the superintendent “shall be prescribed by law.” It didn’t say the state board would be in charge of all educational policy and decision-making.
Youngstown Vindicator. October 4, 2023.
Editorial: Ohio internet problem still needs solved
During this national Digital Inclusion Week, Ohio Department of Development officials are focusing on making digital technology available and practical for all Buckeye State residents — following the week’s theme “Building Connected Communities.”
“You cannot have opportunities in a modern economy without access to broadband internet and the skills to use it, which is why our mission to make Ohio more connected is so important,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Monday. “During this week, I encourage all Ohioans to take advantage of the resources available to become more knowledgeable and better able to use the tools that connect us across the state.”
If they are able to connect at all, that is.
Sure, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance is hosting a series of webinars this week, and the Columbus Metropolitan Library is offering opportunities to develop digital skills and obtain affordable devices and internet connections. But what good does that do Ohioans who still don’t have even the possibility of reliable, high-speed broadband internet access, let alone the tools and skills they need to use it?
BroadbandOhio has spent the past three years helping to “bridge the digital divide and ensure that all Ohioans have high-speed internet access,” according to the Department of Development. But according to research website Broadband Search, “Ohio has less internet accessibility than many other of the most popular states. … 5.7% of residents in Ohio have no internet connection at home or elsewhere.” And 22.9% do not have high-speed internet access.
For those folks, touting the availability of digital skills classes is akin to showing them how to use all the features on their new refrigerator before their homes are wired for electricity.
Yes, it is important this week (and always) to think about giving low-income households, aging populations, incarcerated individuals, veterans, people with disabilities, people with language barriers, racial and ethnic minorities and rural residents the skills and resources they’ll need to thrive in the digital age.
But for the sake of our families, our schools and our communities, the push to bring the access they need to employ those skills must be officials’ top priority.