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Republican McCormick Ousts Ritz To Win State Superintendent Race

Jennifer McCormick

Republican Jennifer McCormick has ousted Democrat Glenda Ritz to become the state’s leading education official.

With 73 percent of polls reporting, McCormick has won the race for state superintendent of public instruction, with 53 percent of the vote.

Like Ritz, McCormick comes with years of experience as an educator, and a similar education agenda. During her campaign, McCormick pointed to her career as a teacher, elementary school principal, assistant superintendent and current Yorktown Community Schools superintendent.

McCormick’s priorities include expanding the state’s preschool pilot program, expanding schools’ broadband and internet access, and revamping the state’s school ranking system.

For the past four years, Ritz has served in the superintendent position as the only Democrat in a statewide elected position, often leading to political clashes with an otherwise Republican leadership.

Although McCormick’s policies are a departure from past Republican superintendents who were vocal advocates for school choice through charter schools and private school vouchers, her party affiliation alone could pave the way for less friction over education policy from a Republican-controlled Legislature.

In an unusual move, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce endorsed McCormick earlier this year.

“We know that the legislature is going to be controlled by the Republicans,” Kevin Brinegar, Indiana Chamber President and CEO, said in October. “I think she kind of stands a better chance out of the gate having come from the same party.”

Over the next year, a primary responsibility of the superintendent will be to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal education law that replaces the No Child Left Behind Act signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush in 2002.

As that law takes effect, McCormick will have a say in creating a new standardized test to replace the ISTEP, changing how the state focuses on the education of English language learners and how the state should rate and support schools.

READ MORE: For more election results, go to indianapublicmedia.org/election

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