|The Statehouse is a House of Horrors for Teachers, Ritz|
Republicans, led by House Education Chair Bob Behning, are targeting the power of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz. Of course, Ritz is the only Democrat to hold one of the state executive offices. She also received over a million votes in the 2012 election. That doesn't seem to matter to the House Republicans. Three bills are currently circulating the Indiana House that would strip Ritz of important powers and duties her predecessor had and undercut teachers' associations across Indiana.
According to the Indianapolis Star, House Bill 1342 would remove Ritz as the administrator of the state's school voucher program and place it under the Office of Management and Budget under Governor Mike Pence. House Bill 1337, according to the Star, would put the task of making changes to the A to F system of evaluating schools under the State Board of Education and the Education Roundtable. This would totally circumvent Ritz and the Department of Education. Finally, there is the direct assault on teachers under the guise of House Bill 1334. This bill, according to the Star report, would ban the practice of school districts collecting union dues directly from paychecks.
These are all hostile and direct attacks without any cause on not only Superintendent Ritz and teachers but Indiana voters. Indiana voters voted for a change in a down ballot 2012 race electing Glenda Ritz and sending Tony Bennett out of office. That didn't just happen.
While things look bleak in the House, the Senate Education Committee Chair Dennis Kruse has gone on record saying that Ritz should keep her power, as reported by WISH-TV yesterday and several other outlets last month when Kruse said it.
If I were the Republicans in the Indiana House, I would remember what happened to Tony Bennett. While he landed on his feet in
Furthermore, the bill ending the collection of union dues is simply a direct slap in the face of Indiana teachers. There's no reason, no need, and no problem on this. To get union dues taken out of one's check, that teacher has to sign off before it happens. It's a voluntary system. This just makes it a little less easy to have teachers join a union.
All of these moves are political. It's stick it to the teachers and stick it to the Democrats time in the Indiana House. The opening round is underway.