Monday, July 14, 2014

Unelected Board of Education Undermining Elected Ritz

Glenda Ritz
Superintendent of Public Instruction
There was an election in 2012.  The State Board of Education and Mike Pence might want to remember that.

I suppose I should remind them.  In 2012, voters went to the polls.  Despite millions of dollars and the benefits of incumbency, Glenda Ritz employed a disciplined strategy of engaging teachers, soon-to-be teachers and the people that care about them combined with those dissatisfied by Bennett's leadership into her own coalition.  She shocked the world.  Ritz ended up with more votes than Mike Pence.

Fast forward to to last Friday.  While the local media rightfully had its mind on other things, the State Board of Education flipped the script on Superintendent Ritz and took a big step towards bringing back the policies of Tony Bennett.   By a 7-3 vote, the SBOE voted to give itself the ability to overturn Ritz, the Chair of the Board, on procedural matters.  It sounds like a small deal, but, in practice, it changes the way the Board operates.  With Ritz marginalized, the unelected Board can move forward with its own agenda.

Add Mike Pence to the equation.  He appointed most of the Board.  He also created his own Department of Education under the disguised name of Center for Education and Career Innovation.  Pence made government bigger and more bulky to grab control of education policy.

You don't have to take my word for the actions of the board.  The Northwest Indiana Times' Dan Carden has an excellent piece here.

So, what can voters do about it?  You can go here and remind the State Board of Education that they were not elected to run education policy.  That job should be Ritz's.  You can also remind Governor Pence that we have one Department of Education, and the person elected to run it got more votes than he did. Finally, you can give Glenda Ritz more Democrats to help her at the state level in the House, the Senate, and in the other executive offices including, when it's time, Governor.  

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