Once a teacher and school librarian, once a local union leader, once a longshot candidate for Indiana’s highest elected education post, Glenda Ritz gets a new title today:
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
To mark her first day on the job as state superintendent — the first day an Indiana Democrat has held the post since the early 1970s — here are 10 must-read StateImpact posts on what lies ahead for Ritz in her new job.
- What Glenda Ritz’s Victory Over Tony Bennett Means For Indiana Schools “I think I’m a respected educator among legislators,” Ritz told StateImpact on Election Night. “Remember, the last four years, they’ve seen me. They’ve heard from me.”
- Why This Year’s Election Means A Little More For Indiana’s Teachers Unions “When the union is outright supporting candidates that are clearly a slap at us as reformers and doing a lot of messaging that’s anti-reform, that’s not constructive,” Larry Grau, president of Indiana Democrats for Education Reform said in September. “That’s being completely resistant, and that’s not helpful.”
Trailing In the Money Race, Ritz Counting On ‘Grassroots’ Support In which Ritz first states her confidence about the outcome of the race to StateImpact: “I am not worried about funding for this campaign. I have a good grassroots campaign. And at the end of the day, it’s about who shows up at the polls, and I firmly believe that I’ll be the next superintendent of public instruction.” It was August.
- Can Glenda Ritz Work With New, Pence-Appointed State Board? “On a lot of issues, she could be in a 1-10, or a 2-9, or a 3-8 minority” on the State Board, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Derek Redelman told us after the November election. But others say there’s potential she can work with the Republican-controlled executive panel.
- With Many Of Bennett’s Policies Built Into Law, Ritz Could Face Tough Four Years While Ritz will not find support for wholesale repeal of many of her predecessor’s policies, IU professor Ashlyn Nelson says she envisions Ritz “tinkering with the measures underlying the [school letter grading] system and also being more clear about the extent to which schools are sanctioned based on their ranking.”
Mapping The ‘Campaign In A Box’: How Glenda Ritz Won Indiana “Glenda Ritz’s staffers called it the ‘campaign in a box’ — an idea so simple, it doesn’t sound at first like a campaign strategy. Everyone who contributed $25 to the Democratic state superintendent-elect’s bid to unseat GOP incumbent Tony Bennett received a ‘campaign in a box’: a yard sign, five bumper stickers and campaign postcards with Ritz’s main talking points. Bennett may have raised $1 million more than Ritz ultimately did, but Ritz’s contributions… had a multiplier effect that fanned out across the state.”
- Tony Bennett Talks Florida Job, Glenda Ritz & Future Plans “I pray for nothing but the best for Glenda Ritz,” says former state superintendent Tony Bennett. “I say this for one reason: I pray for nothing for the best of the children of our state.”
- Confusing Aftermath Of Glenda Ritz’s Victory Getting Even More Confusing As longtime StateImpact commenter karynb9 points out, “Supporters of Ritz need to be patient and understand her role. There may be times when she sees the writing-on-the-wall and does go along with an initiative that would be unpopular to most of her supporters as a way to be able to have more seats at the table when it comes to the ‘hows’ of implementing that policy. It will not be helpful to anyone’s ’cause’ for her to simply be a contrarian to the rest of the board every step of the way.”
How ‘Local Control’ Became A Pivotal Issue For Ritz In Bid To Unseat Tony Bennett “Cindi Pastore had always sparred on Facebook with an old friend whose politics were decidedly more conservative than hers. The discussions were spirited and good-natured, but she never had luck much changing his mind. That is, until Pastore — a “semi-retired” special education teacher — brought up the race for state superintendent. It took a lot of back-and-forth, but she ultimately convinced this “die-hard Republican” friend to vote for Democrat Glenda Ritz. ‘I got him to split his ticket for the first time in his entire life. I was real proud of that,’ Pastore says.”
- Mailbag: Your Thoughts On Glenda Ritz’s Defeat Of Tony Bennett ”Our failing schools are a result of a union that keeps bad teachers in positions that they should be fired from and terrible administration in positions where they continue to fail,” one commenter wrote. “At least there has been change at the schools that were at risk of being taken over. I cannot believe that this lady got elected.”