Leave Ritz issue to voters who elected her
To the editor:
Through our democratic process in 2012, 1.3 million Hoosiers voted to elect Glenda Ritz to the position of state superintendent of public instruction.
Some speculated that this was an opposition vote to then-Superintendent Tony Bennett; others thought it was a vote to support public education; and others felt it was partially because she was a Democrat.
All of that aside, the fact remains that Glenda Ritz was democratically elected to a position that for more than 100 years has chaired our state’s board of education.
Now the governor-appointed members of the state board of education are at odds with Glenda Ritz.
These appointed board members appear to be appointed to carry out the educational agenda established by Tony Bennett before he was voted out of office and shared by Gov. Mike Pence.
Naturally, this situation has created dysfunction not only within the board, but within the Statehouse.
From this dysfunction has come a “solution” that appears, on the surface, to suppress the dysfunction by minimizing the voice of current chair, Glenda Ritz.
This “solution is currently making its way through the Capitol in House Bill 1609 and Senate Bill 1 that would remove Ritz as chairwoman, by her position, of the state board.
Have our elected leaders in the legislature not thought for a moment that perhaps the dysfunction has been brought about due to failed and poorly advised education policy that goes against what most common-sense Hoosiers really want?
Many legislators, including our very own Rep. Jim Lucas, claim they are changing the rules of the state board of education to eliminate the dysfunction and this act is “for the children.”
They continue to assure us Glenda Ritz is still superintendent and can be voted back into the position of chair by the governor-appointed board members.
This rhetoric is simply a display of smoke and mirrors as to the reality of what truly is taking place by our legislative body.
It certainly gives the impression our legislators and our governor simply do not like Glenda Ritz’s educational position, which appears to often run counter to their own. Putting HB 1609 and SB1 into action will begin the spiral of other educational bills to re-ignite the Tony Bennett-Mitch Daniels agenda back into play.
As an educator, a parent, and a concerned constituent, I highly recommend that Indiana’s senators and representatives, including our locally elected Sen. Brent Steele and Rep. Jim Lucas, reverse their past position and oppose HB1609 and SB1 and re-evaluate several other educational bills which would diminish or completely destroy what our voters asked for through their vote for Glenda Ritz.
We may or may not agree with Glenda Ritz’s method in the way she conducts business, but it is not ours, nor the legislators’ place to reconstruct her position — leave this to the voters who elected her to the position of state superintendent of instruction and chairwoman of the state board of education.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Franke is a sixth-grade teacher at St. Peter’s Lutheran School in Columbus and Seymour Community Schools board member.