IBJNews

New Indiana schools chief: GOP approval unnecessary

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana's new superintendent of public instruction, Democrat Glenda Ritz, said she can make some policy changes for the state's schools without needing the approval of the Republican-controlled General Assembly and governor's office, but that she welcomes input, no matter where it comes from.

Ritz told The Times of Munster for a story Sunday that she has enough flexibility in the office to get schools "moving forward in a different direction."

She defeated Tony Bennett, the Republican incumbent, in the Nov. 7 election. Republican Gov.-elect Mike Pence said he didn't view her victory as a referendum on the education overhaul championed by Bennett and outgoing Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.

"We ran on a platform of continuing a bold agenda of education reform ... and we've been given the opportunity to lead based on those ideas," Pence said at the time.

Ritz acknowledges she doesn't have enough votes in the Republican-dominated Legislature to make big policy changes, such as a repealing Indiana's private school voucher program, but she said she will be able to tweak them.

For example, Ritz said she plans to do away with the pass or fail test for third-grade reading competency implemented by Bennett and instead measure struggling students' progress after giving them intensive instruction.

She said that also applies to Bennett's emphasis on ISTEP-Plus standardized testing and the A-F grading system used to rate schools.

"I believe there's policy and implementation that goes in a different direction from what we're doing now," Ritz said.

Ritz wants the Indiana Department of Education to also do a better job supporting local schools instead of just telling them what to do.

"We're going to be doing quite a different approach, a real, real bottom-up approach in providing professional development, resources and any type of support that might be needed," Ritz said. "When you get memos from me regarding policy you will already know what it's about, because you will have been part of making the decision."

She also wants to hear from mayors and city councils, who she said also have major stakes in the quality of schools.

"We're going to be working with the community to make plans and put in motion action that will actually address the challenges," Ritz said.

Ritz said she's interested in working with Pence to implement his plan for added vocational and technical education in Indiana high schools.

She met with House and Senate leaders and the chairmen of both chambers' education committees last week and wants to hear lawmakers' ideas on improving education in Indiana classrooms.

"I don't really care what political party a legislator belongs to, I'll be working with everyone," Ritz said.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Evaluating the Superintendent
    I think it's premature and unfair to state that the new Superintendent will not seek and use input from Republicans. How about evaluating her based on what she actually does? I do think it's clear she does not intend to be ordered around by Republicans...
  • Charter-school owners or Unions????
    In looking at the campaign contributions, from what I saw....Tony got money, money and more money from those who get State of Indiana money to run charter schools, school take-over programs, and testing system. Tony had, when I looked, I believe 1.4 million dollars. The Union PAC donation was under $200,000. I also note...(1)we have failing charter schools. (2) I don't believe the reporting on school students is always honest. (3) I don't judge schools or teachers on student scores. (4) I voted against Tony for his refusal to supply answers to public records requests. (Kind of like the hidden contract for Mitch to take a few more $$$$$$$$ from Purdue? If it is a good deal...why can't we see the contract?) Without unions, politicians select their friends and relatives to be teachers. While many foolishly believe schools would improve by making teachers work as serfs without pay; even they should believe that having politicians run the school employment would be a greater evil than Union labor...I hope?
  • a real, real bottom-up approach
    "I don't really care what political party a legislator belongs to, I'll be working with everyone," Ritz said. However, she makes it clear that she does not need--and therefore not want--Republican input. The only winners with Ritz in this office is the teacher's union.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

    2. Shouldn't this be a museum

    3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

    4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

    5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

    ADVERTISEMENT