Chesterton Tribune



Indiana schools chief job just got tougher

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ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - Glenda Ritz says she’s dismayed by the tasks she faces succeeding Tony Bennett as Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction.

Ritz told about 200 supporters that not only must she overhaul some of the changes Bennett made during four years in office and implement her own program, but now she must also deal with the investigation into Bennett’s manipulation of school grades, The Herald Bulletin reported Sunday.

The Associated Press has published emails showing Bennett and his staff changed the school grading formula to raise the score of a campaign donor’s charter school from a C to an A. School grades are used to determine how much money schools get and whether “failing” schools are taken over by private operators.

Bennett has denied any wrongdoing, but he resigned as Florida’s education commissioner, a post he was appointed to after Ritz defeated his re-election bid in Indiana last year.

The A-F school grading scale is one of the Bennett reforms Ritz spoke most sharply about changing during an open house Saturday at United Auto Workers Local 663.

“I want an assessment model with no ceiling so we can truly understand where our students stand,” the superintendent said. “I want a strong system of equity and high quality for every student, and a big part of that is a strong system of public education.”

Ritz also announced the creation of an outreach program for public schools around the state modeled after her own grassroots-oriented superintendent election campaign. The program will feature 14 outreach education service centers around the state organized by leading educators in each area.


Posted 8/12/2013