The Indiana Chamber of Commerce wants to have the Superintendent of Public Instruction be an appointed position instead of an elected position. The current officeholder, Glenda Ritz, received 1,332,775 votes from the citizens of Indiana. By contrast, Gov. Pence received 1,275,424 votes. (Our incoming Secretary, Treasurer, and Auditor of state all received somewhat less than 800,000 votes.) Superintendent Crouch received that convincing vote total in a surprise upset of the previous occupant, Tony Bennet. If someone like Mr. Bennett had been appointed rather than elected, the citizens of Indiana never would have had the opportunity to give him the bounce, regardless of how strong the sentiment was.
The Chamber has apparently been on the side of making the position appointed for some time. I can’t say that their reasoning is simply sour grapes because Bennett couldn’t hang on to the job. However, in some quarters, the ostensible reason for legislating Ritz out of a re-election bid is because the discord between her and Gov. Pence’s appointees on the State Board of Education is unseemly. Reducing the Governor’s influence in Board composition doesn’t seem to be under consideration. For example – just off the top of my head – maybe it would be a good idea to group school districts into regions and have a number of regional representatives on the school board.
Also, just by the way, it seems at least slightly odd for the Chamber of Commerce to be having a significant influence (if they do) on educational policy. Maybe a little like having the rail roads weigh in on highway policy. Sure, the railroads rely on the highways for various things, but maybe they wouldn’t design the system in a way that was best for all of us.
Well, they’re also pushing for Sunday alcohol sales, so give them that.
I’m all for reducing the number of elected officials. Let the Governor appoint the schools chief, the auditor, the treasurer, etc. They should be part of his team. How many voters do you honestly think looked at the platform of any of those offices?
Look at the candidate qualifications for the Democrat and Republican auditor candidates just this past year. Sure seemed like the Democrat was far more qualified as a retired CPA; he lost by over 300,000 votes.
A crapload of teachers I know looked into Tony Bennett’s “platform” and rejected it.
1) the theoretical reason we hire the auditor and treasurer is to put a stop on the governor, as they form the three person finance council which allocates money when the General assembly is out of session – which is how the CECI which is set up to support the Board AGAINST Supt Ritz – was funded. Of course, since we do it in an off year election and NO ONE understands that fact… We get this carp we have now… ONE PARTY RULE.
2) I don’t understand why the governor gets to appoint the whole school board, although t be honest, I doubt we’d get any better service by electing and having more non people selected by corporations.
3) of course the Chamber has strong opinions… They run this state through the strings they have in the General Assembly… And they have strong interests in making sure the charters and vouchers keep flowing.. As they work to discredit public schools and teachers on General. Stupid moves, but then how else do you get a dumb cheap work force?
I am also guessing (because I am too lazy to research) that the Chamber receives some donations to their PAC from profiteer education groups that want to smooth the transition of public education dollars to their investors’ pockets.
5th line down…Superintendent Ritz not Crouch!
Mitch Daniels proposed making it an appointed position while Suellen Reed was in that job. This is not a new idea and fits right along with the Kernan/Sheapard report.
But let’s be honest, its all politics no matter who holds that office. And isnt it the state board of education have the ultimate power when it comes to policy, not the SPE?