Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

July 15, 2014

We need one schools chief

Look, we don’t care if Glenda Ritz, or someone appointed by the governor or someone appointed by the state board heads up education in Indiana. It should be abundantly clear by now that Indiana needs an appointed, not an elected, superintendent of public instruction.

This newspaper has called for years for an appointed superintendent, but it wasn’t until the past year that the potential for chaos was fully realized. Ritz, a Democrat, was elected to the post over incumbent Republican superintendent Tony Bennett.

This essentially gives Indiana two education leaders — Ritz and Gov. Mike Pence — calling the sometimes conflicting shots, along with the state board of education which leans heavily Republican.

This year we have seen Common Core State Standards dropped by the state in favor of homegrown standards. We have seen the state threatened with loss of federal funds, if its waivers from the No Child Left Behind program are dropped. And last week the board voted to establish a committee to review Ritz’s ability to set the board’s agenda. Ritz countered that she would have her lawyers review this and another measure adopted by the board.

Ritz said she feels like it is an attempt to question “my integrity, my honesty, my department’s capacity to do the work of the waiver,” reported the Associated Press.

“Perhaps he (Pence) thinks his agency is the agency that should be doing that,” she said.

Actually, we believe it should be the governor — be it Republican or Democrat — who should be appointing a superintendent, and thereby avoiding all of this bickering that interferes with the serious business of education.

— Evansville Courier & Press

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