News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 26, 2012

Stark differences between candidates for school superintendent

Bennett, Ritz both long-time educators

INDIANAPOLIS — Glenda Ritz and Tony Bennett are both longtime educators, but the ways they see the sweeping changes in Indiana schools and classrooms couldn’t be more different.

The Republican Bennett has spent the past four years as the state’s superintendent of public instruction championing those changes.

They include GOP-backed legislation that expanded charter schools and created the nation’s largest school voucher program; created a merit pay system that ties teacher pay and tenure to student performance; imposed more high-stakes testing for grade promotion and graduation; and created an A-to-F evaluation system to grade the effectiveness of schools.

Running for his second term, Bennett lauds those changes as cutting-edge reforms that make Indiana the model for the nation. And he’s called for even more.

“Why now would we want to slow down?” he asks.

The Democrat Ritz cites the very things Bennett hails as the reasons why she decided to run against him, with support from the state’s teachers unions.

She objects to the major changes individually. For example, she calls the new third-grade reading assessment test both harmful and “heart-breaking” for students who fail it and risk being held back a grade. But she also sees the changes as a collective effort to undermine public education, set public teachers up for failure and lay the groundwork, she said, to “privatize schools.”

“All this legislative action has gone through so quickly with no barriers, and no understanding of the awful consequences,” Ritz said. “I really feel like teachers, kids, parents and communities have been caught in the middle of a political agenda.”

Bennett and Ritz differ on substance, but also in style.

Ritz, 58, of Indianapolis has been a classroom teacher for 33 years. The mild-mannered mother of two thinks teachers have been left out of the process of education reform and demonized by reform advocates. She was a longtime Republican who left the party when Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels began pushing hard for the education changes that have been put into place.

Bennett, 51, from New Albany, has been a classroom teacher, school administrator and basketball coach. He describes himself as competitive and impatient — and also misunderstood. He regrets he’s been portrayed by opponents as someone who doesn’t value teachers or public education.

“That’s a caricature of me they drew, that I allowed them to draw,” Bennett said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Ritz and Bennett also differ on how they would spend the next four years, if elected.

Ritz believes Bennett and the state Department of Education, which he oversees, have overstepped with aggressive implementation of the education-reform legislation passed over the past four years.

If elected, she said, she would do whatever she could to slow down the education overhaul and have the DOE work with every school district in the state on a comprehensive assessment of how schools and students have been impacted by all the changes.

“The policies out of the Statehouse have been one-size-fits-alls,” Ritz said. “It’s been: ‘Here are the policies. Here are the mandates. Now get it done.’”

Bennett disagrees. He acknowledges that the state has set new standards for students’ academic performance, teacher evaluations and other measures. “But how schools reach those standards are up to them,” he said.

If re-elected, Bennett said, he’d oppose any effort to slow down implementation of the major reforms. “Lack of implementation is the death of reform,” he said.

Another major difference is the size of their campaign war chests.  

The latest campaign financial reports (released in mid-October) show Bennett’s campaign has raised more than $1.3 million, with some of that money coming from big-ticket donors who have supported similar education changes like that going in indiana. That includes $200,000 from Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and $40,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ritz’s campaign, in comparison, had raised less than $224,000, with much of that money coming from teacher unions political action committees and small individual donors.

Maureen Hayden is the Indiana Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET072914leo screen.jpg Slick’s debut

    Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”

    July 29, 2014 8 Photos

  • MET 072914 TAJIMI YANASE.jpg Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’

    One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide

    A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sheriff charged in prostitution case

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • maple candy closeup.jpg Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness

    Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges

    Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck

    A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Semi driver cited for alcohol use

    A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Church to give out school backpacks

    United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
    The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.

    July 29, 2014

  • Elderly woman in fair condition after accident in Baesler’s lot

    An 80-year-old Terre Haute woman is listed in fair condition today at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge by a freight train that surprised them as they walked along the tracks.

    July 29, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 29, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois to ask voters about taxing millionaires

    BERWYN, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing voters to weigh in on whether Illinois millionaires should pay more income tax.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois woman dies retrieving phone from fire

    BARTONVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a central Illinois woman is dead after running back into her burning home to get her cell phone. A police officer who tried to save her was hospitalized.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ivy Tech names Jeff Fanter senior VP, Anne Valentine VP

    Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder announced the promotion of Jeff Fanter to the role of senior vice president for student experience, communications and marketing and Anne Valentine to the role of vice president for student experience and customer service.

    July 29, 2014

  • Change in traffic patterns at U.S. 41 intersection improvement project

    VIGO COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation reminds motorists the intersection improvement project on U.S. 41 from just south of Interstate 70 to just south of Johnson Drive has switched traffic phases. Traffic is prohibited from turning left off of U.S. 41 at both Johnson and Davis Drives.

    July 29, 2014

  • IU commemorating WWI centennial in 2014-15

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana University plans to spend the upcoming academic year exploring the lingering impact of World War I.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • MET 072814 BUS MEYERROSE.jpg Bus safety features

    New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pendergast.jpg Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident

    Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 072814 CONTAMINATED Cleaner may have contaminated water

    Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion

    Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.

    July 29, 2014

  • rush-hr.jpg Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief

    State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street

    July 29, 2014

  • Old National acquires Michigan bank

    Evansville-based Old National Bancorp and Grand Rapids-based Founders Financial Corp. said Monday they have finalized an agreement under which Old National will acquire Founders through a stock and cash merger.

    July 28, 2014

  • Ohio man falls to death at Cataract Falls rec area

    Indiana conservation officers are investigating the death of an Ohio man that occurred at about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in Owen County.

    July 28, 2014

  • 65,000 chickens die in rural Indiana fire

    WARSAW, Ind. (AP) — Thousands of chickens have been killed in a fire on a northern Indiana farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • One person hospitalized after parking lot pile-up

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after an accident late this morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 28, 2014

  • Indiana teachers worry about revamped ISTEP test

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana teachers are heading back to classrooms starting this week and face the daunting task of preparing students for a standardized test that’s been retooled three times since 2009.

    July 28, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: NH Man Held on $1M in Teen's Kidnapping Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Raw: Aftermath, Artillery Shells Hit Donetsk Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Jury Awards Ventura $1.8M in Defamation Case Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Gaza Official: at Least 100 Killed Tuesday Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two women barely avoid being hit by train Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad
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