INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The leader of Indiana’s Senate Education Committee said
Tuesday that Republicans shouldn’t change the state schools superintendent
position to one appointed by the governor following the election of a
Democrat to that office.
Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse said he would oppose any effort to make the job
an appointed one, at least until incoming schools Superintendent Glenda
Ritz’s term expires in 2016.
“I like more people being elected overall. I just think it’s healthier for
our society and healthier for our economy and accountability to have more
people elected, to have more people answer to the people,” Kruse said.
Ritz, an Indianapolis school librarian, upset Republican incumbent Tony
Bennett in last month’s election with the help of teachers who opposed
changes he pushed, including measures tying teacher pay to student
performance, a school takeover plan and the nation’s largest use of school
Her grass-roots victory sparked renewed Statehouse talk of letting the
governor pick the state’s top education official. Only 11 states elect their
top education official.
Kruse said the idea could merit consideration in Indiana but that it
wouldn’t be right to make a change before Ritz’s term is up.
“They won’t get my vote unless they wait,” he said.
Kruse was meeting with Ritz Tuesday afternoon to discuss issues ahead of the
2013 legislative session.
Kruse said lawmakers plan to review the A-F school grading system Bennett
rolled out just before the election and could find common ground with Ritz
with concerns over the national Common Core Standards and a new third-grade
“I think there’s ground there to work together and to try and make these
improvements,” he said.
Ritz’s campaign was based on the notion that Bennett moved too fast and that
his efforts weren’t in students’ best interest. Many teachers have said they
hope she can roll back some of Bennett’s changes, but it’s unclear how much
she’ll be able to do as a Democrat working with a Republican governor and