That's just the latest battle between Ritz and the Pence Administration, and I'm behind her 100 percent because I think is the kind of thing that Glenda Ritz was elected to do. She was elected to look out for students in Indiana public schools. She was also given an oath to uphold state law. She arrived in office with a tremendous mandate because she not only beat the more well-financed incumbent superintendent, Tony Bennett, but she also received more votes than Mike Pence.
What's emerging, however, from Ritz detractors is a replay of the 2004 Superintendent of Public Instruction race. That year, Joe Kernan (and I believe Mitch Daniels, too) ran on a platform that the SPI position should be appointed and not elected. Democratic candidate Susan Williams ran on the wacky platform that she would resign immediately upon her election to the office and allow whoever was the Governor to appoint the new SPI.
|Dr. Suellen Reed|
In 2008, Daniels and the GOP plucked a Southern Indiana superintendent out of obscurity and made him the Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction. That, of course, was the guy we know now as Tony Bennett. The "so-called" rock star of the education reform movement that barely beat Dr. Richard Wood and then lost to Glenda Ritz.
All of this is past history. We still have an elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana because the Indiana General Assembly has made it so. Because of state law, they can take that vote away from us at any time. If that happens, there will be no chance for the voters to speak on education and the direction of education reform in the state. Instead, it will get lost in the larger race for Governor of Indiana every four years.
|Dr. Tony Bennett|
It's likely that this upcoming General Assembly session that the power to elect our Superintendent of Public Instruction will be taken away from us come 2016. I just feel it. This would be another mistake by the Indiana General Assembly. Hoosiers had substantive concerns about education in 2012. Those concerns were so big that they sent the Republican incumbent for Superintendent of Public Instruction packing.