Since taking office in 2012, state superintendent Glenda Ritz has faced political backlash from other education leaders in the state. With summer study committees underway and legislative issues brought back to the surface, Ritz says her biggest concern for the next legislative session is having her department pushed out for the governor’s newly created Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI).
Ritz spoke to the Bloomington Press Club Monday outlining where education policy in the state is heading over the next year and what has happened the last two. Ritz says she knew going from educator to politician would be difficult, but didn’t anticipate the governor created a new education state agency.
“I knew I was in a political situation to get some things done but I didn’t expect that to happen,” she said.
Governor Pence created CECI through executive order in 2013, and, as we’ve reported, to mixed reviews. It definitely makes things more confusing about who reports to who and who deals with what area, but some say it makes sense to have the two organizations.
But in the year since CECI’s creation, the Indiana Department of Education, the State Board of Education, CECI and the governor have disagreed and argued. Now, Ritz says she is worried about Pence taking things one step further.“With the stroke of a pen quite easily they can give the duties that belong to the Department of Education and give them to CECI,” Ritz said. “And after 150 years of having the Department of Education, who is full of educators working downtown supporting our schools, we’ll have an agency that is overseeing our schools that is not in the field of education, and that worries me greatly.”
CECI currently oversees the Education Roundtable, Indiana Career Council, Indiana Works Council and the State Board of Education. The Indiana Department of Education deals with K-12 policy, teacher licensing, accountability methods and assessments in line with federal guidelines.