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Ohio DOE Tweaks New Mentorship Program Requirements

Organizations are grumbling about a requirement from the Ohio Department of Education to include a faith-based group for a mentorship program.

Governor John Kasich’s new mentoring program for school children is undergoing some changes after objections over its requirement that faith-based organizations be involved. 

The program, Community Connectors, provides up to $500,000 to partnerships that provide mentoring to at-risk Ohio students.  

But in setting up the rules last month, a group led by Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross required that applicants include a faith-based organization.  The American Civil Liberties Union objected.  So now the Department of Education changed the definition of “faith-based.”

Spokesperson John Charlton says it doesn’t mean organized religion. 

“It’s any organization whose mission is based on the belief that every child’s life has a purpose and that instilling values such as hard work, discipline, and personal responsibility is necessary to ensure that mission be fulfilled,” he said.

Charlton says due to the change in definition the department has extended the application deadline three weeks, until March 6.