“In all fairness, Superintendent Ritz was a librarian, okay? But she’s…uh… She’s a bright person." ---Senator David Long Speaks Out on Dysfunction
The 2015 Legislative Session of Indiana is off to a roaring start. The corporate reformer legislators are looking to continue with their agenda and apparently Superintendent Glenda Ritz is standing in their way. It is vitally important that we all write to the House Education Committee members and Senate Education Committee members as well as our own legislators and let them know where we stand.
But for fuel to light your fire, let me show you what senator David Long, president pro tempore of the Indiana state senate, had to say about our superintendent of public instruction Glenda Ritz and the state board of education while on the Fort Wayne show "Prime Time 39". From the senator:
"Right now we have had a dysfunctional relationship between the superintendent of public schools and the board. The board is made up of 11 people including the superintendent and she is also the chairperson of that board. It is not working.
Then Long took a question from a caller:
A woman caller, "Laura," asks:
“Senator Long, have you ever watched any of the board of education meetings?”
He responds “Yes, I have.”
Caller: “Okay. I have, too, and when you talk about dysfunction, I think in particular, you have a couple of men on there who are very sexist and they don’t want to listen to what a woman has to say. Superintendent Ritz is a very, um, she’s won a lot of awards as a teacher. She knows a lot about teaching. She knows more about teaching than every board member put together. And I think that there’s been such a loss of respect. Especially with a couple of men—one who hasn’t taught in a K-12 school in over 18 years and another one who is an attorney…”
Ironically, Senator Long interrupts this woman: “Let me try to answer your question there and I appreciate your comment.”
He goes on:
Let us be clear. While Senator Long and other talking heads in the statehouse (and governor's mansion, for that matter) act like it is the structure of the department of education that is the problem, we know that Suellen Reed served well as a republican superintendent under democrat Governor O'Bannon and Gov. Kernan. There were no complaints back then. But when Governor Daniels and Superintendent Tony Bennett came on the scene with an ALEC-backed, corporate-education reform vengeance, Hoosiers objected loudly and embraced democrat Glenda Ritz for their superintendent of public instruction.
Let us also point out that there are 7 states who elect their state board of education members, who then elect the superintendent of instruction. There are 8 states besides Indiana who elect their superintendent of public instruction. Add to this 9 other states in which there are some state board members elected, but not all, and you have a wide variety of democratically elected positions. In fact, there are roughly only 14 states that have their board members appointed by the governor alone. Indiana is not really an oddball at all, but one of many states that allow the electorate to have some sway over education positions other than the governor.
No, Senator Long, the dysfunction is not in the structure of our state board and department of education. The dysfunction lies in a governor and his super majority who are trying to continue their corporate reform (privatization) education agenda at any cost. They will circumvent democracy and justify it by calling Ritz dysfunctional or a "catalyst."
Dysfunction is ignoring the hundreds of thousands of voters who wanted Ritz to lead, who embraced her platform, and who showed more support for her than for the governor himself. Dysfunction is creating your own news agency to tell the story the way you want it to be painted. And, unfortunately, dysfunction is a passive citizenry that will not vote these people out.
Please speak up NOW.
1/28/2015 12:47:38 pm
Supt. Ritz is in her position based on the will of the people. Apparently Senator Long is on a learning curve regarding the workings of a democracy.
1/28/2015 01:13:18 pm
I listened to the interview with Senator Long with absolute disbelief at the disdain with which he spoke of Superintendent Ritz. Having heard Supt. Ritz in person, she can list more legislation off the top of her head than Sen. Long has ever read! He speaks of her lack of administrative experience as being a problem, but I, and a huge number of other voters see this as an advantage. Ritz's experience is as a front line provider of services to schools and students. She understands ALL of the layers of the education system, as well as the laws that govern this system. Senator Long isn't even ON a learning curve - he prefers total ignorance of every aspect of education. He and his professed "professionals" need to allow Supt. Ritz to school them on education rather than deciding they will try to make her look incompetent. Anyone who has had the privilege of speaking to her or hearing her speak about education can tell you that they will never succeed.
1/29/2015 12:10:17 pm
Its sad that the Indiana government don't know anything thing about public education. Feed the rich. Make them richer. Screw the poor, make them poorer. They are trying to segregate the school's. In my opinion that is illegal. Our governor is just riding the coat tails of Daniels. Who started all this mess. All it is is to make money. What happen to the old superintendent Bennett that everyone thought was great. Oh I remember illegal activity had to quit his job in Florida.
1/29/2015 12:10:21 pm
Ritz is a classic Union bully. She is unqualified, shows no leadership skills and acts like a dictator suppressing votes, not allowing discussion and acting like a spoiled child stomping out of meetings when she does not get her way. In 2008 Indiana Democrats wanted the position to be appointed, it's hilarious when the shoe is on the other foot things change. Ritz is just another member of the status quo I$TA members who put themselves in front of our children's education.
1/29/2015 02:30:28 pm
Are you kidding me? Union bully? First of all if it wasn't for the unions there wouldn't be anyone out there fighting for workers to have better wages, healthcare, and retirement. I am proud to be a union pipefitter and I work hard to earn what I have. Secondly the reason Superintendent Ritz leaves these meetings and storms out is because the board of education doesn't give a damn about her ideas. She has won teach of the year TWICE!!! None of the other members of the board have the teaching experience or achievements that Superintendent Ritz has. So honestly who in our board of education have a clue about students these days. Speaking as someone who graduated not to long ago if we keep getting more and more tests added each year we are never going to learn anything and the board will just look at us as failures. Superintendent Ritz has the experience and knowledge to help improve our schools if only the other members of the board will get there heads out of their asses and listen for a change.
1/29/2015 11:19:33 pm
Mr. Hunt...you probably have NO IDEA what goes on in a classroom. I honestly think the 'committee' has no idea as well. This year, the ISTEP consists of 70 minute tests, 60 minute tests, 40 minute tests. How long do you think elementary school children can be comfortable sitting still, and taking these tests? The importance of these tests is stressed to the students, and some of them are so worried, they are in tears. Sixty minutes? Really? And, the practice tests are supposed to be a 'hint' as to what the actual test will be. They are so confusing, adults are struggling to make sense of them. I'm appalled at what our children are facing this spring. SHAME on the folks who designed this test! Shame on the 'committee' for allowing it into the classrooms. When the scores are low, don't blame the educators. It's the fault of the 'committee.'
1/30/2015 12:00:01 am
In addition...this is WHY a superintendent who has knowledge of actual school experiences...not a 'committee' of people who THINK they know. Just frustrating.
1/30/2015 03:04:02 pm
Well said, Cathy! THIS week at our high school (I am a secondary science educator), our Freshman got their ReadiStep results (NEW mandatory test for 9th graders!) while our Juniors took the NEW Accuplacer test for students who have not yet passed ECAs and have NOT met a min PSAT score. Crazy!!
1/30/2015 12:38:54 am
How dare you Mr. Hunt! I'm not sure you have ever had the privilege or honor of listening to superintendent Ritz ever. My guess you haven't taken the time to listen to her. You call her a spoiled child, I'm sorry but what do you call it when our governor doesn't get the person he wants for superintendent elected and makes an entire new board to contract everything she was ELECTED to do! She received more votes than her did and he is throwing a tantrum along with all the other legislators that didn't get their way!
1/30/2015 04:47:24 am
1/31/2015 04:17:00 am
Bravo! Very well said Sherri Gleeson!
2/1/2015 03:51:23 am
So you have a problem with unions, hope you enjoy your Sunday off and your benefits from your employer, all which are a result of unions hard work over the years!
2/1/2015 06:50:53 am
Melissa I am off today and I have benefits but yet have never been part of a union in my 50 years on this earth...so shhhhhhhhh
2/1/2015 07:09:54 am
1/29/2015 11:53:00 pm
Senator Long needs to be out of office
1/30/2015 10:12:24 am
Having done some considerable research on the issues presented through the political implications of the events this week, I would have to say that it's hard to form an opinion if one is attempting to be unbiased.
1/31/2015 07:39:48 am
1/31/2015 12:31:45 am
My sadness and concern stem from watching education be batted around like the proverbial political football. Glenda Ritz WAS elected by the Indiana electorate for a reason. The previous office holder was a hoax who pandered to Mitch Daniels and his donors!
2/2/2015 06:23:53 pm
For the record, Ms. Ritz was first a special education teacher for folks with severe disabilities and a reading specialist before going back for a third professionalization of her teaching license to be a librarian. She is smart, emminently qualified and the people's choice for the department of education leader in Indiana. Leave politics out of our schools! Give the schools back to all of our children in the state of Indiana!
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