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December 8, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 8, 2013

Glenda Ritz election win was a statement

In a recent letter to the editor, a writer claims “Glenda Ritz was elected by teachers to kill vouchers, charter schools and protect their jobs.” I have a couple of problems with this statement.

Glenda Ritz wasn’t only elected by teachers, but also concerned parents and grandparents.

Glenda could in no way “kill vouchers” even if that was her aim — which it isn’t. Protecting teacher jobs seems an appropriate task for a superintendent.

When Tony Bennett was superintendent, he ignored teachers, parents and other educators’ input. He didn’t explain or improve the system, didn’t allow transparency and asked no questions. He made sweeping changes, instituted “core” standards, changed tests and developed a standard to punish teachers by grading their ability solely based on students’ test scores. Taxpayers expect more accountability and cooperation.

We have seen public schools closed because they “didn’t make the grade”, while a charter school, championed by a wealthy donor and touted by Bennett, earned a “C” but was upgraded to an “A” by him. He resigned while claiming innocence when this was discovered.

The fact is Glenda Ritz won by a landslide, purely a mandate by the voters. WE elected her. She was a virtual unknown, so those votes, like mine, were a protest to Bennett’s high-handed ways, and strictly to remove him from office.

Along comes Mike Pence, with the same dictatorial style of governance. He is not happy with our choice. He promptly refuses to recognize Glenda and appoints, by executive order, another group of people who report to him — to usurp the original school board’s responsibilities and effectively eliminate Glenda Ritz’s job.

What has Indiana become? This group wants to override the voters? And with both houses under Republican control, Pence has been given the power and thinks he can do as he pleases.

I hope we don’t all live to regret it.

Lindsay D’Agostino, Kokomo

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