INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — School librarian Glenda Ritz denied Republican Tony
Bennett a second term as Indiana schools superintendent Tuesday as voters
spurned a sweeping conservative education overhaul.
“This race was a referendum on the future of education in Indiana,” Ritz
said Tuesday night.
The Democrat’s win was seen as a victory for Indiana teachers who have felt
Bennett blamed them for school failures. Many educators have opposed changes
under Bennett that include expanding charter school access, limiting
teachers’ collective bargaining and basing teacher pay raises on annual
Bennett also pushed for the state’s private school voucher program and
oversaw the first state takeover of troubled public schools.
“I have no regrets,” Bennett said in his concession speech, while
acknowledging that some of his policies had proven unpopular.
Ritz pledged to roll back many of Bennett’s changes, including a reading
test that third-graders must pass to advance to fourth grade.
“I think the voters have been really clear that we want an education agenda,
not a political agenda for our kids,” she said.
Ritz said parents, not just teachers, disliked Bennett’s changes,
particularly a move toward private takeovers of public schools that
repeatedly fail performance grades based largely on standardized tests.
“Parents around Indiana were concerned about high stakes testing and the A-F
grade system that was imposed on us,” she said.
“Teaching to the test, as we’ve been relegated to doing, is not providing
students with a good education,” Ritz added.
Ritz is an elementary school library media specialist in Indianapolis.