Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Senate Passes Bill to Remove Ritz

As the Republicans continue to attempt to remove Glenda Ritz from her chair as the leader of the State Board of Education,  Mike Pence is really ramping up his rhetoric in this war of words between the state's chief executive and the state's schools chief.

Pence shared a "letter to the editor" on his Facebook campaign page that argued, in part, that the Superintendent of Public Instruction was not supposed to set policy.  That's really funny because that seems to be just about all Tony Bennett did when he was in that office.  He took Indiana education policy in a radically different direction from the past.  Of course, that set up the conditions that elected Glenda Ritz.

Governor Pence is on the offensive because he knows he is this close to pulling off a coup, and he's betting that voters don't care or won't be able to figure out what's happening.  He's treating Hoosiers as if they are stupid.  

They aren't.  Hoosiers see that Governor Pence wants control of the State Board of Education, and he can't do it without removing Glenda Ritz from the big chair.  Thus, he's trying to dig under the will of the 1.3 million voters that elected Ritz by marginalizing her role in state education policy.

Yesterday, he got another step closer to his ultimate goal with the Indiana Senate approving the change.

The talking points are easy.  Pence and his minions will say that they aren't taking any power from the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  They will say that they aren't even removing her from the seat as Chair of the Board of Education, but the truth of the matter is that the first opportunity they get, they'll pull Ritz and install a puppet that will do whatever the Governor and the leaders of the Indiana General Assembly want them to do.  

The system of checks and balances will be gone between the DOE, the General Assembly, and the Governor's Office.  The unmitigated ability to write education policy will be in the hands of the Governor, and the power-hungry Pence can feel the power just outside of his grasp.

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