In case you missed the memo, early voting for the May 8 Ohio gubernatorial primary started last week. Building off our national Eduwatch coverage of the 2016 presidential election, Fordham Ohio presents a look at the primary candidates for governor.

Below you will find—in their own words and via direct quotes as much as possible—the positions of candidates in the Republican primary on various education issues in the Buckeye State. (We list them in alphabetical order.)

The corresponding collection of quotes from the Democratic primary candidates can be found here.


Mike DeWine (Ohio Attorney General and former U.S. Senator). Running mate: Jon A. Husted (Ohio Secretary of State)

1. School quality: Wants to place “a real emphasis on education”…encouraging and replicating schools that are propelling underprivileged children toward “their version of the American dream.” If they’re not serving that goal…they should be closed down. October 2017.

2. Schools serving at-risk youth: The good news is that today there are models for what yields good schools—models of schools that can make a difference in children’s lives. November 2017.

3. Career and Technical Education: Ohio should encourage some students to pursue vocational education as an alternative to college to help boost the state's workforce. March 2018.

4. Statewide education governance: “If you look at any kind of education reform, it needs to focus on kids and how we do a better job for kids…I don’t see that this proposal [HB 512] really does that or accomplishes very much at all.” April 2018.

5. School funding: “We should do everything we can to bring about equity in school funding, but that’s not the only thing. For example, Cleveland has very high performing charter schools that are reaching kids who are at risk, and their costs are about $13,000 a head. For city schools, it’s about double that. It’s not all about the money.” January 2018.


Mary Taylor (Lieutenant Governor of Ohio). Running mate: Nathan Estruth (businessman).

1. Education and jobs: Creating and continuing jobs in the state requires a fix to the education system. That could include giving high school students the necessary tools for after they graduate and either go to college or immediately enter the workforce. If students decide they want to start a career right after high school, schools need to offer their students during their four-year tenures skills and training for jobs. “I don't think we should wait until these kids get out of high school.” July 2017.

2. Statewide education governance: “This proposal is exactly the opposite of what my approach is, and I’m absolutely opposed to House Bill 512.” April 2018.

3. Education funding: “We will roll out an education proposal that will really focus on what matters in education, not a discussion on money but rather how to improve schools for kids, a solid proposal that looks at where the dollars are spent.” January 2018.

4. Standards and testing: “We would eliminate Common Core standards and return control to local districts, revamp graduation standards that focus on the results we need. We have lost our minds on testing, doing way too many. Parents need to know how their kids are performing, and the testing system doesn’t do that.” January 2018.

5. Relevant high school coursework: “Our kids aren’t learning the stuff in high school the way that they should.” Students should get more immediately into their coursework and have access to more internships. January 2018.

Ohio Education Gadfly