JEOC is a new legislative study committee comprised of 10 members. During the April 5 organizational meeting, members seemed to agree on the need for a legislative amendment to clarify the role of the committee and to broaden its scope of activities. Representative Robert Cupp, who was involved in sponsoring the legislative language for JEOC, had previously indicated that some of the original provisions needed to be revised.
The Committee will employ an executive director to help organize the work of the Committee and research the topics selected by the Committee. Regional hearings were suggested by some members.
Since 1913, Ohio government has had various legislative committees/commissions to study education issues in addition to the standing committees on education in each house of the legislature.
The Ohio School Survey Commission was appointed in 1913 subsequent to voter approval of Article VI, §3 of the Ohio Constitution. Various survey commissions operated periodically through the mid-1970s when the legislature enacted a provision for the Education Review Committee. That Committee gave way to the Legislative Office of Education Oversight (LOEO) which was enacted in the 1990s.
After LOEO issued an objective report documenting the failings of charter schools, the office was defunded at the instigation of the Speaker of the House. Hence, Ohio has been without a legislative study committee on education for more than a decade.
JEOC has the potential of being a great asset in the education policy arena. The operation of the Committee will give public school educators and administrators the opportunity to testify on issues that actually affect teaching and learning; and to make recommendations for improvements. It is encouraging that the Committee has announced the possibility of holding regional meetings/hearings.
A high priority for the committee should be to develop a system of school funding that will pass constitutional muster. Ohio’s system was declared unconstitutional four times but no appropriate remedy has been enacted