Finally, we’re detecting a more moderate tone from Statehouse Republicans in their reaction to the recent defeat of education reform champion Tony Bennett, who lost his re-election bid for superintendent of public instruction to upstart Democrat Glenda Ritz.

At a legislative preview luncheon on Monday conducted by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, both House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate Majority Leader David Long indicated a willingness to discuss and possibly change the way some education reforms have been implemented.

But it’s wise not to read too much into that. Both men still support recent reform packages. Ritz’s election surely got their attention, as it should have. Still, words alone aren’t enough. The real test will be in their willingness to make meaningful changes or adjustments in the drastic reforms of the past two legislative sessions.

Voters sent a message to state leaders about the pace, method and substance of change in public education. Whether that message was heard and heeded will be judged through actions, not words.

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