When over 1,300,000 Indiana voters of both parties elected Glenda Ritz for state superintendent of public instruction it was a clear message that we wanted change in education. However, Gov. Pence, his appointed state board and the supermajority in our state legislature have spent the last two and a half years denying that mandate and throwing roadblocks in Ritz’s way.
We have watched in amazement as our state legislature continued the attack on public education and even introduced bills to take away Ritz’s authority. When these bills failed, we were outraged to see our governor use his executive power to create a second, shadow department of education, the Center for Education and Career Innovation, using millions of our taxpayer dollars.
This blatant usurping of Ritz’s authority and continual disrespect to the voters is now to be compounded by new rules being put forth tomorrow, July 9th, which replaces responsibilities of the chair (Ritz) with the “board staff” or CECI for creating agenda items and procedures.
Granted, it is a difficult situation to have a publicly elected superintendent and her department of education try to work effectively with a state board of education and a SECOND department of education who are tasked with the corporate reform agenda of the governor. The addition of an expensive, unnecessary education department chaired by Claire Fiddian-Greene (who is not an educator) further complicates the situation. All concerned claim to be “for the kids” yet one side represents a democratic process; the other represents an undermining of that process.
It would seem that our legislators who sit passively by and allow our children to be pawns in this political game are ignoring our message in allowing the governor and many of his state board members to void our votes.
Let us be clear:
We voted for Glenda Ritz because we believe that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy.
We voted for Glenda Ritz because we believe that public tax dollars belong in public schools.
We voted for Glenda Ritz because we believe in the profession of teaching and that educators, not politicians, should make policy decisions.
We voted for Glenda Ritz because we know that testing does not equal teaching and that our children are suffering under the use of tests as punishments to schools, teachers and kids within.
We voted for Glenda Ritz most of all because we know that these politicians, fed by their donors, care more about turning our schools into a for-profit venture where the dollar, not the child, is the bottom line.
How can we support Glenda Ritz and reinforce our votes and get our message across? Vote wisely this fall. In the meantime:
Contact Governor Pence: http://in.gov/gov/2333.htm
Contact the SBOE members: http://www.in.gov/sboe/2527.htm and http://www.in.gov/sboe/2423.htm
Contact your state legislators: https://capwiz.com/nea/in/home/