Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pence Cuts Ritz Out of the Planning for New Center on Education and Jobs

Last Thursday Governor Pence announced the creation of the Center for Education and Career Innovation to serve as a collaboration point for state agencies helping students and adults prepare for quality careers. The announcement indicated that the new center would "partner" with the Indiana Department of Education, led by Superintendent Glenda Ritz who defeated then incumbent Tony Bennett in the 2012 election. This prompted a terse response from Ritz's office:

Partnerships require communication. Unfortunately, Superintendent Ritz learned about the creation of this new agency through news reports, rather than from Governor Pence. Superintendent Ritz has met with the Governor on many occasions, including as recently as two days ago. However, neither he, nor his office, mentioned the creation of this new agency until this morning.

“Superintendent Ritz remains committed to transforming Indiana’s K-12 education system into one of equity and high quality for all students and she looks forward to working with all Hoosiers to achieve that goal. Last November, 1.3 million Hoosiers said that they trusted her to run the Department of Education. Hoosier students would be better off if the Governor would work with her, rather than around her on this vital issue.”

The Center may be a fine initiative to help the state move forward, but why would the Governor exclude Ritz from the discussion except for political reasons? But, at another level, wouldn't it have have benefited Pence to include her in the initiative, to show that he was willing to ignore politics to benefit the people of the state?

Here is the Star's coverage of the Center's launch. And here is an editorial from the Muncie Voice, arguing that Pence was attempting an "end-around" of Ritz.