Indiana News

Dems' Endorsed Candidate for State Superintendent Slams Bennett

Ritz: Education reform agenda has been "punitive"

6/14/2012


Democratic State School Superintendent Candidate Glenda Ritz (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)

The likely Democratic nominee for state school superintendent is blasting the Republican incumbent for what she says are misplaced priorities.

Listen:

Glenda Ritz is a media specialist in Indy's Washington Township Schools, and the head of the teachers' union there. She accuses Superintendent Tony Bennett of taking a "punitive" approach to education reform across the board, from high-stakes testing to teacher evaluations to new school report cards.

Ritz complains the report card system is fatally flawed because it's based on a curve, guaranteeing that some schools will be on the bottom. She says good schools are being unfairly penalized.

Ritz says she supports one Bennett goal, beefing up teacher evaluations, but charges even that step has been undermined by flawed implementation.

Ritz is among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the private-school voucher law which began last year. She argues it's both improper and unconstitutional for state tax dollars to flow to private schools. But she says the last straw propelling her into the race was the establishment of a high-stakes reading test, with students repeating a grade level if their reading skills are substandard.

Ritz faces Melissa Ann Hicks for the nomination at Saturday's convention, but could seal it before then. State Democratic Chairman Dan Parker has asked the party's central committee to disqualify Hicks because she ran for Fort Wayne City Council last year as a Republican. The committee will vote Friday night.

Ritz already has the endorsement of gubernatorial nominee John Gregg and the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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