Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Pence: Tony Bennett May Have Lost, But Education Overhaul Won't Be Undone

Brandon Smith / IPBS

Governor-elect Mike Pence and Gov. Mitch Daniels address the media to discuss their transition plans. Pence and Daniels promised a steady hand on the till on education policy, despite state superintendent Tony Bennett's electoral defeat.

After state superintendent Tony Bennett’s election night defeat sent shockwaves through the school policy world, Governor-elect Mike Pence says the education policies Bennett championed aren’t going anywhere.

“In our candidacy, in the election of a super majority in the House of Representatives, we have a strong affirmation of the progress on education reform,” Pence said Wednesday, according to Indiana Public Broadcasting‘s Brandon Smith.

Pence said those words at a press conference with outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels, who was instrumental in enacting many of the education policies — a private school voucher program, a teacher evaluation mandate, new charter school rules, and others — Bennett supported. 

Not a word of one of those laws is going to be changed unless it’s extended further in the direction of reform,” Daniels said, adding, “Every other factor that matters is aligned, in this state, in the direction of progress and change and reform of teacher accountability, of more choices for families, of more ability for school leadership to lead.”

Voters elected Democrat Glenda Ritz Tuesday in Indiana’s most unexpected election night turn. Ritz not only had the financial and organizational support of the state’s teachers unions, but she had the support of thousands of Indiana teachers who felt targeted by Bennett’s policies.

IPBS’s Brandon Smith adds:

Pence says he looks forward to working with Ritz to find areas of common purpose. He says he hasn’t formed an opinion on making the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed — rather than an elected — position.


  • Diane

    oh pency pence….in four years, we will OUST you too (just like your pal tony bennett)!!

  • inteach

    Progress and reform do not belong in the same sentence.

    And, Mitch, as usual, is in typical “Little Dictator” form.

    Tony and Mitch are cut from the same cloth. They could never admit it when they were wrong.

  • fenrod

    “a strong affirmation for the progress or education reform???” The guy in charge of it just got fired by the voters! Doesn’t sound like a “strong affirmation” to me.


    I guess Pence didn’t get the message that the people of Indiana want input into their schools and not be told what they are going to do by someone who has so much “outside money” in his pocket. Blame the teachers union all you want, but where then did the 1,000,000 crossover votes come from that weren’t in the union, from angry parents who didn’t get heard. Wake up Gov. Pence, the people of Indiana want this agenda stopped.

  • Jeff Miller

    Tony sucked and was killing our education system. Indiana’s education system, in comparison to the rest of the nation, was a sick joke under Tony’s reign. Let’s just hope that Ritz does a better job, and that the “governor-elect” allows us to make actual progress. Our teachers and children are only losing in this political battle of “power plays”.

  • Karynb9

    The Indianapolis Star is reporting that Rep. Behning (Indiana House Education Committee Chair) “said he believes many Ritz voters didn’t really know the issues. They just didn’t like Bennett’s style.” Those who voted for Ritz didn’t “really know the issues”?!? I’m sorry, Mr. Behning-the-Berkshire-Florist-Shop-Owner, but I’m pretty confident that my grasp of education issues as a professional educator meets if not exceeds your own. One would also think that you wouldn’t be familiar enough with Dr. Bennett to be offended by his “style” if you also weren’t familiar with the issues. Here we go all over again…

    Unfortunately, many voters who would support candidates for the Indiana legislature with similar positions on public education as Ritz weren’t given that choice on Tuesday — too many districts in this state lacked a challenger. Also, many Indiana Republican voters who were willing to cross the aisle to vote for a Democrat for a position like Superintendent of Instruction would not do so for more traditional elected offices with a much broader social and economic agenda. Our “battle” is more likely won in the Republican primaries. We need some type of Republican group to mirror the “Democrats for Reform” group that gets so much press in the state (though I wouldn’t recommend going with “Republicans AGAINST ‘Reform’” as the name!!!).

  • INParent

    Pence is looking like puppet of Daniels.
    Alot of parents also voted Bennett out so Pence should wake up and smell the coffee.
    Looks like a one term Governor , if he doesnt wise up.

  • Eng10teach

    It would be great to have a sound clip of Pence’s statement, so that we could share it.

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