Earlier this month Ritz walked out of a meeting when board members asked to involve their staff — separate from the Department of Education — in the review of state academic standards. At the time, Ritz said the blame rested not with individual board members but with Governor Mike Pence, who created a new education agency, the Center for Education and Career Innovation, over the summer.
Ritz and Pence met Tuesday and agreed to bring in the National Association of State Boards of Education to help defuse the situation.
“Since the last meeting of the State Board of Education, I have said that the governor and I needed to work together directly to address recent issues that have arisen,” Ritz said in the statement. “Yesterday’s meeting was a first step towards that goal. I believe the governor now has a clearer understanding of my concerns regarding the CECI, but much work remains to be done.”Pence asked NASBE to help clarify the board’s roles and responsibilities two days after the explosive Nov. 13 meeting.
“I also appreciate the superintendent’s willingness to work with members of the Indiana State Board of Education and NASBE to resolve differences that have arisen on the board,” he said in the statement.
As we’ve written before, Indiana is one of just two states where the elected superintendent chairs an appointed board of education. Legislative leaders have said if Ritz and the State Board can’t work out their differences, they’ll consider removing her as board chairwoman.