Friday, November 9, 2012

Indiana's new Superintendent is a teacher

The greatest victory for public education in America's federal election was not Obama's. Don't get me wrong, Obama's win over Romney was necessary in order for public education to begin being saved and supported, but it is not sufficient -- Obama's first four years of cancerous education policies is proof enough of that.

The greatest victory might have happened in Indiana where Tony Bennett was defeated in his bid for re-election as State superintendent by veteran educator Glenda Ritz.

Diane Ravitch describes Bennett as "the quintessential reformer: pro-charter, pro-voucher, pro-privatization, anti-union, anti-teacher."

Ritz was a teacher for 33 years and opposes vouchers, merit pay, letter grades for schools, and evaluating teachers by test scores.

It's important to note that Bennett was a Republican in a Republican state with a Republican governor and a Republican state legislature. He also outspent Ritz by more than $1 million. Despite all this, Ritz not only defeated Bennett, but she also received more votes than governor-elect Mike Pence.

In Alberta, Canada, superintendents are appointed by an elected school board and must have:
  • a bachelor of education degree
  • a Master's degree
  • an Alberta teaching certificate
  • 3 years of teaching experience
In Alberta, Canada, Tony Bennett wouldn't even be considered, and Alberta is a high performing province.

It's kind of neat that the people of Indiana chose someone who might actually be qualified to be a Superintendent.


  1. I grew up in Indiana, and our state (on many levels) has historically made news related to education that is far from flattering, to say the least. This is a potential step in a better direction. It has never ceased to amaze me that unqualified individuals can pursue and even attain positions such as this. While I get the whole "public education must be subject to the public" argument, it doesn't mean we should perpetuate the myth that education is one of those fields that doesn't require any specialized training. On a different level, I continue to be baffled as to why anti-public education individuals aspire to hold educational roles, just as anti-government individuals aspire to hold government roles. Destruction is not equivalent to reformation.

  2. Joe, I looked at the qualifications you listed for Alberta's superintendents and I am not so convinced they qualify people in a non-political manner totally. Superintendents are chosen by politicians here and, yes, there are certain qualifications, but I am not as convinced they are changing the face of education in Alberta for the better at times. This is based on my experience and observations over some 20 years as an educator and as a parent of grown children who went through the system with varying degrees of success.

  3. @Teacher as Transformer I can't and won't disagree with you. There have been some real stupidintendents in Alberta, but I feel more comfortable that they are required to be teachers than not.

    I guess I might put it this way. Being a teacher and having teacher experience is necessary but not sufficient in being qualified to be a superintendent.

  4. Great article. I am in my ninth year as an Indiana teacher. I breathed a sigh of relief when Ritz was elected, and it took Pence and Daniels less than a week to renounce Ritz's agenda and start discussing making our State Superintendent an appointed position. As you noted, Ritz received more votes than Pence, but apparently our Republicans won't let democracy get in the way of their anti-teacher, privatization education agenda. Thanks for your support--we need help and constant attention in Indiana. We realize democracy doesn't end in the ballot box, but we will need national (international) attention to loosen the mortar of the Republican stonewall.

  5. Being a teacher can be a disadvantage. It takes a paradigm shift to see that teaching is so tough, not because kids today are not into learning but facebook,have a sense of self entitlement, want every thing, don't want to work etc but the system itself. There are teachers who are behaviorist and others are constructivist.

    Deborah Meier remarked that American high schools are "peculiar institutions designed as though intended to drive kids to the edge of their sanity.

    Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University, argued that "many well-known adolescent difficulties are not intrinsic to the teenage years but are related to the mismatch between adolescents' developmental needs and the kinds of experiences most junior high and high schools provide.


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