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Jennifer McCormick Will Be Indiana's Last Elected Schools Chief

McCormick

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick took office in 2017 and will be the last elected official to oversee the Indiana Department of Education. (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Lawmakers in the Senate gave final approval on a bill Tuesday to make Indiana’s next schools chief an appointed one. Now the bill heads to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk for his signature.

The General Assembly changed state law in 2017 to replace Indiana’s elected superintendent of public instruction, with an appointed education secretary by 2025.

The move came shortly after current Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick took office, and left room for her to run for a second term. But McCormick announced last year she won’t seek re-election, prompting lawmakers to speed up the timeline.

This year’s push for the change is a welcome one for Holcomb – he included the bumped up appointment timeline in his Next Level Agenda.

McCormick said in a statement the 2020 race for governor will require even more attention as the winner will appoint the new education secretary.

"Education impacts all of us. Our children, educators, and school communities deserve a strong, representative voice," she said. "While politics has been interjected into our education, at the end of the day the question should not be, ‘what side of the aisle are you on,’ but ‘are you on the side of kids?’"

After the appointment change goes into effect, Indiana will join 10 states where the governor and policymakers appoint both the top school official and all members of the state board of education.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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