News From Terre Haute, Indiana

State News

December 15, 2012

New school leader making allies, even across party lines

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s new schools superintendent, Glenda Ritz, is making some allies in the Statehouse: Republican legislators who pushed the education-reform laws that triggered a wave of voter discontent that carried the Democrat Ritz into her new job.

Those alliances could lead to some changes in how some of the laws, aimed at boosting teacher accountability and increasing student achievement, are being implemented.

A hint of what those changes may be came last week, at a legislative preview conference where Ritz shared a microphone — and some common ground — with a would-be adversary, Republican state Senate Education Committee chairman Dennis Kruse.

Both said the new A-to-F grading system for schools has been a failure; both are critical of a high-stakes teacher-evaluation tool that ties teacher pay to student test scores; and both want the state to commit to fully funding full-day kindergarten before its starts doling out dollars for pre-kindergarten programs.

And both, despite their significant differences on some major issues – including the private-school vouchers and the expansion of charter schools that Kruse favors – have pledged to work together to get some things done.

“I’ve never, ever asked, in any position that I’ve served in leadership in, anybody’s political party and I don’t intend to pay attention to that now,” said Ritz, the only Democrat elected to statewide office in November.

“I’m going to talk to whomever I need to talk to, to be sure I have what I need to get things done,” she added.

Ritz, 60, is a longtime classroom teacher who likes to say she’s “an educator, not a politician.”

It’s true she’d never run for office before this year, when she switched political parties to take on the current superintendent of public instruction, Republican Tony Bennett. (Bennett, who lost the November race, was appointed head of the Florida schools system last week.)

But Ritz is practicing some good politics in forging relationships with some key Republicans; it’s their party that holds super-majority control of both the state House and Senate.

“She understands that if she takes an adversarial approach, she’ll get nothing,” said Kruse.

Republican state Sen. Luke Kenley, an education-reform advocate and head of the Senate appropriations committee, said his initial skepticism of Ritz changed after spending a couple of hours with her, talking details of education policy.

“She clearly knows what the issues are,” Kenley said. “I suggested there would be a number of things she would probably be in favor of, that we could advance.”

Among them: re-examining how teachers are being evaluated due to a law that ties teacher pay and tenure to student achievement. “We’re both very concerned that we find the right kind of model that helps build good teachers,” Kenley said.

Ritz won her election by getting 1.3 million votes – winning more votes than Republican Gov.-elect Mike Pence did.

While some Democrats and teacher-unions leaders claimed her victory was a wholesale rejection by voters of the sweeping changes made in K-12 schools in recent years, she doesn’t see it that way.

“There are many things that are already in law that I don’t have a problem with.” said Ritz. “It’s the implementation of the laws that perhaps has had the negative effects on classrooms and schools and the school systems in our state.”

Kruse, Kenley and other GOP legislators have already promised they’ll take a look at how to reshape the new A to F grading system for schools, which caused significant consternation when they were released in October.

The system, based on a complicated formula that uses test scores and a “growth model” that compares academic peers, came out of a new law that was intended to give parents a clear look at how their child’s school was performing.

But how those grades were configured instead was confusing, Kruse said. “The formula was so complex that even Ph.Ds in education can’t understand it.”

Officially, Ritz doesn’t take office until January. But she’s already working overtime, working with a transition team to craft potential legislation, hire top staff, and, she said, dispel some the misconceptions that legislators may have of her.

“I think there is a perception, perhaps, of me being opposed to everything that was passed and that’s just not true. I mean, it’s just not true,” said Ritz.

“It’s the implementation of those laws that has been my focus,” she said. “I want to see a different pathway to implementing those laws.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Pence leading annual governor’s motorcycle ride

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence is leading the annual governor’s motorcycle ride from the Statehouse through southern Indiana.

    July 25, 2014

  • State asks judge to delay right-to-work ruling

    CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana attorney general’s office has asked a judge to put on hold his order striking down the state’s right-to-work law.

    July 25, 2014

  • Indiana chooses 5 counties for preschool program

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s three most populous counties are among five chosen for a pilot program that will allow low-income children in those areas to attend preschool as early as next year.

    July 22, 2014

  • More cases of chikungunya confirmed in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS — Six more Hoosiers have tested positive for the chikungunya virus, making a total of seven reported cases in the state. The majority of individuals have confirmed travel to the Caribbean, including four teens who were recently on mission trips to the area.

    July 17, 2014

  • Judge orders Indiana BMV to resume selling plates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A Marion County judge has ordered the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to resume issuing personalized license plates, but that doesn’t mean the agency will start doing so anytime soon.

    July 16, 2014

  • State reports budget surplus, $2 billion in reserves

    INDIANAPOLIS — As expected, the state closed its fiscal year with a budget surplus, due largely to spending cuts forced by Gov. Mike Pence.

    July 14, 2014

  • U.S. Attorney Hogsett announces resignation

    INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced in a news release today his resignation from office, effective July 31, 2014.

    July 14, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Pence orders memorials for officers who died

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has declared this week an official period of mourning after the loss of three law enforcement officers in the line of duty over eight days.

    July 8, 2014

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Deal set in ex-schools chief Bennett’s ethics case

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission is considering a settlement in the ethics case against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Lawmakers returning for ’corrections’ day

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lawmakers are returning to Indianapolis for a day to fix critical mistakes left in the criminal sentencing overhaul legislation approved earlier this year.

    June 16, 2014

  • Constitutional convention backers meet in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 lawmakers from 33 states are expected to gather at the Indiana Statehouse for discussions about how to call the first constitutional convention since the nation’s founding.

    June 12, 2014

  • Dickson stepping down as Indiana’s chief justice

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson is stepping down from that role but will remain as an associate justice.

    June 11, 2014

  • 10-digit dialing in 812 area code soon mandatory

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana utility officials say 10-digit dialing in southern Indiana’s 812 area code will become mandatory in September.

    June 11, 2014

  • Audit: Nearly 275 in Indiana await 1st VA visit

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An audit of VA hospitals and clinics nationwide has found that nearly 275 Indiana patients are still waiting for initial appointments at facilities in Indianapolis and northern Indiana 90 days or more after requesting them.

    June 9, 2014

  • Jackpot growth slowing down for Hoosier Lotto

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State lottery officials are blaming a big drop in ticket sales for a decision to slash the rate at which Hoosier Lotto jackpots grow.

    June 6, 2014

  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • Indiana’s 4 largest cities see population surges

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A new report by an Indiana University research group says Indiana’s four largest cities are in the midst of some big population increases.

    May 22, 2014

  • Appeals court: Students can sue over school attack

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals says two students hurt in a school shooting can sue the school district over their injuries.

    May 20, 2014

  • State health commissioner urges hepatitis testing

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to educate themselves about the dangers of viral hepatitis and to get tested for the disease.

    May 19, 2014

  • Zoeller: Robocall complaints are down in Indiana

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says his office is receiving almost half as many complaints a month about robocalls as it did two years ago, but says there’s more work to be done.

    May 19, 2014

  • High court to hear appeal of right-to-work law

    MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in September on Indiana’s appeal of a judge’s ruling declaring the state’s right-to-work law unconstitutional.

    May 9, 2014

  • Judge: Indiana must still recognize 1 gay marriage

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The state of Indiana must recognize a lesbian couple’s out-of-state marriage throughout their legal fight to have one of the women named as a spouse on her terminally ill partner’s death certificate, a judge ruled today. The Indiana attorney general’s office said it would appeal.

    May 8, 2014

  • Judge says Indiana BMV wrongly pulled ‘0INK’ plate

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A police officer has the right to buy a vanity license plate reading “0INK,” an Indiana judge has said in a ruling that extends far beyond one plate.

    May 8, 2014

  • Zoeller: Let legislatures choose Senate candidates

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Senate candidates in Indiana would be nominated by the General Assembly instead of selected by voters in a primary if the state’s top legal officer has his way.

    May 5, 2014

  • Indiana, CDC push for more infant vaccinations

    AVON, Ind. (AP) — State and national health officials are pushing for parents to vaccinate their infants on time in the face of measles outbreaks.

    April 30, 2014

  • Painted bison to celebrate Indiana bicentennial

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Painted bison sculptures and quilted gardens are set to pop up in honor of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration.

    April 30, 2014

  • Indiana court upholds dismissal of ethics charges

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s decision to dismiss misconduct charges against the state’s former top utility regulator.

    April 29, 2014

  • Board approves Indiana’s Common Core replacement

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education has approved new math and English standards to replace the Common Core benchmarks in Indiana’s classrooms this fall.

    April 28, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out Today in History for July 25th DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity