Incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz may soon discover that easiest part of the job was getting elected.
Ritz’s team has already gotten off to a rocky start at the Statehouse. Most recently her team asked the outgoing leadership in incumbent Tony Bennett’s office to fire up to 70 staff immediately and hire on members of her campaign. Indy Politics is told that request was immediately denied. The Ritz team then went to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ office for help and were also turned down.
The second bump in the road has been with Ritz’s interactions with the State Board of Education. A number of them reportedly have been taken back by her comments recently that she plans to do away with the pass-fail testing of third graders as instituted by Bennett.
Ritz does not have the power to unilaterally change policy at the Department of Education. It is the State Board of Education that has the policy making authority, Ritz does chair the board meetings, but that only gives her the authority to set the agenda. Board members can add items or refuse to take action on them.
As one Board member put it, “I don’t think she is evil, but I do find her to be very naive about how this process works.”
And while there is no move currently to make the Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed position while Ritz is serving out her term, there is discussion to make the position appointed in 2017 after she completes her tenure.