Glenda Ritz vs. State Board Of Education And CECI
Another Indiana State Board of Education meeting, another conflict between state Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the rest of the board. This time, it had to do with a settlement the superintendent signed with CTB/McGraw-Hill, the company that makes the ISTEP, over those computer server problems that bogged down numerous students in the spring of 2013.
The problem? The settlement was signed by Ritz in October 2013. The board found out about it on Wednesday, almost ten months later. The board says it's another example of how Ritz and her Department of Education don't communicate with them. Ritz says she didn't have to, that it was her job to negotiate the settlement - power she says falls exclusively to the Department of Education.
As I found out when I spoke to the superintendent the next day when she made an appearance at the Indiana State Fair, her problem lies not with the board but with the agency that staffs the board, the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI). That's the agency the governor created last year, an agency Ritz believes is trying to take over her own department for political reasons - Ritz is the only Democrat holding statewide office.
After her interview, you will hear my talk with board member Brad Oliver, who has been frustrated with what he says is the lack of cooperation by Ritz and her department almost ever since he was appointed to the board in June 2013.