Eye on Education


ohio flag

Get to Know Your Ohio Department of Education


The Ohio Department of Education oversees the state’s public education system, which includes public school districts, joint vocational school districts and charter schools. The department also monitors educational service centers, other regional education providers, early learning and childcare programs and private schools.

The department’s tasks include:

  • Administering the school funding system,
  • Collecting school fiscal and performance data,
  • Developing academic standards and model curricula,
  • Administering the state achievement tests,
  • Issuing district and school report cards,
  • Administering Ohio’s voucher programs,
  • Providing professional development, and
  • Licensing teachers, administrators, treasurers, superintendents and other education personnel.

In the past, the department had been allowed to sponsor charter schools, but state leaders removed that possibility after many of the schools showed poor academic performance and fiscal management. In 2011, the state legislature reinstated that ability, allowing the department to sponsor as many as 20 charter schools per year for the next five years.

The department is governed by the State Board of Education. However, day-to-day administration of the department is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, who is hired by the State Board of Education. The department has a full-time staff of approximately 600.

Latest Posts

New Ohio State Superintendent Is All About the Boys and Girls

blue header

The new head of the Ohio Department of Education doesn’t talk much about the youth. Or the children. Or students, whippersnappers, anklebiters or tots. But he really loves to talk about boys and girls. New State Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross works the phrase “boys and girls” into just about every public comment he [...]

State Takeover Begins in Lorain; Cleveland Schools Granted Exemption

The state’s top education official was in Northeast Ohio today to announce the fate of two local school districts: Cleveland and Lorain. Both were slated for state takeovers following years of poor academic performance, but the state will only take over only one district. After years of getting Fs on its state report cards and failing to [...]

Cleveland School District Requests Exemption from State Takeover

It’s no secret that the Cleveland school district hasn’t been doing so well. The writing of a state takeover was on the wall when the district teamed up with the mayor’s office and the governor to pass House Bill 525, aka The Cleveland Plan. Still, under state law when a district gets the equivalent of [...]

Acting Ohio Department of Education Head Michael Sawyers to Move On

Michael Sawyers is Ohio's acting superintendent of public instruction.

Michael Sawyers, the current acting head of the Ohio Department of Education, will leave the department next week, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The news of Sawyers’ departure comes less than a week after the state Board of Education passed over him to fill the post permanently. Sawyers has served as acting state superintendent of public instruction since the August resignation [...]

Ohio Department of Education Investigating Out-Of-State Diploma Deals

Graduation speaker

Deval Patrick / Flickr For years some Ohio charter schools have funneled students who are unable to pass the Ohio Graduation Tests onto an easier track to graduation, one that allows them to earn a diploma from a private correspondence school based in Illinois and avoid Ohio graduation requirements. Earlier this year, the state auditor [...]

State Takeover of Cleveland, Lorain Schools Begins

Late last week the Ohio Department of Education sent letters to Cleveland and Lorain School Districts, informing them that their failing grades have landed them in a state takeovers. According to Ohio law, if a district is in academic emergency and fails to make progress for four or more years, the Department of Education must take over [...]

Key Ohio Education Agencies Now Without Permanent Leaders

motel vacancy sign

Thomas Hawk / Flickr The state agencies that oversee Ohio K-12 and higher education are now without permanent leaders. The Ohio Department of Education has been without a permanent state superintendent of public instruction since former state superintendent Stan Heffner resigned in August. His deputy, Michael Sawyers, now serves as acting state superintendent. But Sawyers  has applied [...]

Ohio Department of Education Investigates Troubled Columbus Charter School

Pat Kight / Flickr Ohio charter school ScholARTS Preparatory and Career Center for Children opened in 2004. It received an F from the state every year it has been rated. It posted an operating loss of $1.2 million. The nonprofit group that oversees the school wants to cut ties. But ScholARTS is still open and could [...]

How High Poverty Schools Can Still Produce Excellent Students

Schools in high-poverty neighborhoods can produce excellent students, especially with the right leadership. At least that’s the finding of a new study commissioned by the Ohio Business Roundtable, the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio State University. The study, called Failure is Not an Option, examined nine schools in Ohio that all have poverty rates above [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »