"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How did Ritz win in Indiana


The Governor, Governor-elect, some members of the legislature, and the rest of the pro-"reformers" in Indiana can't admit that Glenda Ritz, the Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect was elected because of dissatisfaction with the pro-privatization status quo which includes 1) a massively invasive testing program stealing time from students' instruction, 2) a voucher program which is stripping Indiana's public schools of funds, 3) pro charter and privatization initiatives from the superintendent's office, 4) the dismantling of the profession of teaching in Indiana, and 5) the takeover of local schools and the threatened takeover of entire school corporations. Instead they blame an imaginary misinformation campaign.
In a meeting with The Journal Gazette editorial board today, Gov. Mitch Daniels continued to insist voters' rejection of state Superintendent Tony Bennett was not a rejection of the aggressive education agenda they shared, but instead the result of underhanded campaign tactics.
GOP firm despite education coup

If the idea of a misinformation campaign doesn't convince you, then how about this? The Speaker of the Indiana House claims that it was simply a personality clash between teachers and outgoing superintendent Tony Bennett.
“This is not an indictment in any way of reforms,” [GOP House Speaker] Bosma said. “Some of the education reform controversy deals with the tone and presentation of the reforms and how it’s explained. Occasionally the discussion moved into arenas that teachers found offensive.”
Did Bennett Really Lose in Indiana?

Still not convinced? Bennett himself said it was the fault of the state teachers union...and the enemies of reform who don't want the common core standards.
The reason, Bennett said, is that he knew the Indiana teachers' unions would be "formidable foes" in any election fight, and that his policy initiatives in the last four years would generate strong opposition from some in the state education establishment. Bennett is a big national voice on issues prioritized by so-called "education reform" advocates, but his education stardom wasn't enough to satisfy Hoosier voters, who gave Ritz 52 percent of the vote and Bennett 48 percent...
Excuses!

Let's get this straight...Glenda Ritz, who got more votes than Governor-Elect Pence, won the office of State Superintendent because 1) voters were misinformed, 2) Tony Bennett has an unpleasant and abrasive personality and 3) the state teachers unions influenced enough people to cross party lines and vote for a Democrat in this race (but not the race for Governor).

I don't think so.

What's more likely is that a coalition of teachers, parents, and concerned citizens participated in a grass roots campaign which educated people around the state about the pro-privatization and anti-public education policies of the current administration. The excuses from the privatizers are just that...excuses. The Republican leadership in Indiana doesn't want to admit that they were beaten on the issues. They would rather pretend that something else happened...an anomaly...cheating...misinformation...anything to explain away their loss after spending 4 times as much money ($1.5 million, much of it from out of state) as their opponent.

Maybe they don't want the grass-roots success of Glenda Ritz to catch on...maybe they don't want the citizens of Indiana to realize the power they have to change things.

Diane Ravitch has an explanation...

How Did David Beat Goliath in Indiana?
...teachers, principals and superintendents were angry, but that would not be enough to beat him.

The unions were angry, but that would not be enough to beat him.

Parents were angry at the avalanche of testing. There are lots and lots of parents. That would matter.

Hoosiers who graduated from public schools, who loved their teachers, who respect the importance of public education figured out that he was doing his best to turn it over to entrepreneurs.

Maybe that’s what did it.
Ritz ran on a platform of less testing and more teaching, public money going to public schools, local control (which I always thought was a Republican talking point!) and an end to the privatization of public schools. Daniels, Pence, Bosma, et al, ought to join the grass-roots effort to change the direction of public education in Indiana before the people turn on them.

Other comments from around the web...

LETTER: Ritz win a blow to bullies

This letter writer scolds the "bullies" who are claiming that Ritz's election is not a mandate for change from the "putting private schools first" agenda of the state.
The election of Glenda Ritz was an enormous victory for our public schools. The "Putting Private Schools First" agenda and those who developed it were sent a strong message that our teachers know what is best for education in Indiana. The voters who crossed party lines to remove the thorn in the side of public schools should be commended and their voices not silenced. To say that you will continue the current reform efforts and downplay the significance of the defeat of its poster boy does not seem like a wise choice. I would expect a person in the highest position in the state to listen to the experts in the field, not direct them to the sidelines and show your backside.
Glenda Ritz: I knew I was going to be elected

She knew it all along...
We organized grassroots coalitions and energized people through the social media. It just got broader and broader to the point where when you put a message on Facebook that says, “Take your signs to the polling places,” and people just do it. We only had 2,500 yard signs statewide. It got to the point where we said, “Call 25 of your friends,” and they’d call 50. Whatever we put out, people went and did. I knew a month out that I was going to be elected. I was traveling all over the state and it was energized. It was exciting. Our Facebook page visits have gone up tremendously since the race. My husband was posting at 6 a.m., before school, about what I was doing each day and we’d get lots of hits instantly. We’re still doing that. I knew the base was huge. I would have been shocked if we lost. I was telling people for weeks I was going to win and they were like, “yeah, right.”
Can Glenda Ritz Work With A New, Pence-Appointed State Board?

One of the biggest challenges facing state superintendent-elect Glenda Ritz is the fact that the governor's office, the state school board and the legislature are all against her and her policies. How will she handle that challenge?
In the early stages of her campaign, state superintendent-elect Glenda Ritz knew that defeating well-funded and highly-visible incumbent Tony Bennett would only be her first challenge.

The next challenge — barring fellow Democrats retaking Indiana’s General Assembly or governorship — would be winning over the State Board of Education, the executive panel charged with overseeing Ritz’s work.

Republican Governor-elect Mike Pence, who opposes Ritz’s stances as much as Bennett, appoints the members of that board.
Governor Daniels, Governor-elect Pence, the Indiana state legislature: Honor our 1,300,000 votes for Glenda Ritz

The grass-roots movement hasn't quit...here's a petition on change.org asking the Republican leadership to accept the fact that Ritz's victory was a victory for a change to the "reformer's" status quo.
Indiana voters elected Glenda Ritz as our new Superintendent of Public Instruction by a large margin. She received roughly 1,300,000 votes--about 100,000 more votes than the governor-elect, Mike Pence. Now, however, Governor Daniels refuses to acknowledge that our election of Glenda Ritz sent a clear message on the direction of school reform, saying instead: "The consensus and momentum for reform and change in Indiana is rock solid." Governor-elect Mike Pence is also choosing to interpret the election results as a "strong affirmation on the progress of education reform in this state," (Journal Gazette 11/8/12). On the contrary: when Indiana voters elected Glenda Ritz as superintendent, we rejected the top-down, corporate reform model imposed by the state. We embraced Ritz's platform and her research-backed proposals to support and improve our public schools.
More...

Mapping The ‘Campaign In A Box’: How Glenda Ritz Won Indiana

Ritz upsets Bennett in Indiana superintendent race

Glenda Ritz wins surprise state superintendent victory over incumbent Republican Tony Bennett

Glenda Ritz Wins Superintendent Job In Indiana, Upsetting Republican Incumbent Tony Bennett

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Readers from Indiana, did you vote for Glenda Ritz?

Let Governor-Elect Pence and the Indiana Legislature know that we voted for her because we rejected the top-down, corporate reform model imposed by the state. We embraced Ritz's platform and her research-backed proposals to support and improve our public schools.

Click here to sign the Petition!

1.3 million signatures by Thanksgiving!!

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Stop the Testing Insanity!


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