The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has made it a priority to overturn the 2012 General Election results by legislation and push to make the Superintendent of Public Instruction seat appointed rather than elected. It's going to happen, and I predicted it back a year ago in 2013.
Indiana voters put Tony Bennett out with yesterday's leftovers in 2012 because he was taking education in a direction they didn't want to go. Glenda Ritz got more votes than Governor Mike Pence. Now, for some reason, state lawmakers, including Brian Bosma, are issuing ultimatums to Ritz to fall in line or else.
The or else is to do what the Indiana Chamber wants, and it's quite easy to do. Funds can be easily moved from Ritz's Department of Education to the Center for Education and Career Innovation. That guts Ritz's ability to do her job. It's sad, and the news of it is coming as Indiana schools promote anti-bullying this week. Turns out the true bullies are at the Statehouse.
Some will say I'm being partisan...quite the contrary. When it comes to the idea of an appointed Superintendent of Public Instruction goes, I cannot support that no matter who is in office. As I explained in my October 2013 blog post, I thought Joe Kernan and the Democrats were wrong when they tried to do this in 2004. I voted for Suellen Reed then, and I will always vote to maintain an independent voice for our students in this state.
Ironically, it's the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction that keeps the politics out of the office. What's good for the Governor is not always good for the students of Indiana, and I would hate to see the SPI office become just another place some political crony campaign donor can buy via appointment. Our students and our schools are too important for that.
I think the State Board of Education should also be elected just like the Superintendent of Public Instruction is.
With one clear voice, people that care about education in Indiana must yell that this won't stand. Tell Brian Bosma to get in line behind Glenda Ritz and those that truly care about our students more than ALEC does.