Democrat Glenda Ritz was given a mandate in this referendum on outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, and Indiana's education reform. Unfortunately, it appears that Governor-Elect Mike Pence and Indiana General Assembly leaders have failed to receive the message.
Indy Politics founder Abdul-Hakim Shabazz spent most of the day reporting and spinning on his Facebook page that the new supermajorities in the Indiana General Assembly will soon set their sights on reducing the power of the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction and continuing with the education reforms rammed roughshod through the legislature over the last couple of years.
It's another example of the vindictive nature of the Indiana GOP. They are already so power drunk that they are completely ignoring the message voters powerfully sent to them by defeating Bennett, the face, voice, and heart of the reform.
Every Hoosier teacher and public education advocate must remain vigilant in this process. We are in a dangerous situation here. The Republicans do have a supermajority, and there's no way to stop anything they might wish to do. That's why Hoosiers need to stand with the person they elected. Defend Glenda Ritz and allow her to keep the powers that a Superintendent of Public Instruction has been granted over the years.
If Republicans continue down this road, it's important to hold them accountable at the ballot box in 2014 and 2016. The light of day needs to be shined on this underhanded, vindictive, and vengeful plan by the Indiana Republican leadership.
I think the following quote from the classic, Hoosiers, sums this one up:
"Look, mister, there's... two kinds of dumb, uh... guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don't matter, the second one you're kinda forced to deal with."
To all of you in the General Assembly wishing to pooh pooh what happened last night, teachers still vote, and they have tons of former students and allies. Just remember that when you're dealing with education policy. Your Richard Mourdock-like "inflicting your opinion on others" mentality is exactly what voters rejected last night. Don't forget that. If you do, just ask Dr. Bennett about November 6, 2012.