No winners in state education board lawsuit
Saturday, October 26, 2013 5:00 AM
There's little reason for Hoosiers to believe things will get better in the relationship between Glenda Ritz and just about everyone else at the Statehouse.
This week cemented the hard feelings when Ritz, the state's elected superintendent of public instruction, sued the 10-member state board of education, alleging that the appointed members broke open meeting laws.
In question is a letter dated Oct. 16, in which state board members raised concerns about delays in reporting the 2012-13 A-F grades for schools and teacher effectiveness ratings. The A-F information is used to determine which schools will require state intervention. The teacher ratings factor in salary raises.
The letter asks the General Assembly leaders to bring in the Legislative Services Agency to help calculate the data, given delays at the Department of Education. House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President David Long, both Republicans, obliged.
Ritz, a Democrat, spotted the move as an end-around and took her complaint to court.
It's clear that the lawsuit was drastic action done by someone desperately trying to hold onto something that nearly all of the muscle at the Statehouse is determined to take away.
Why Ritz wasn't included in the letter sent to Bosma and Long isn't explicitly stated, but the motives to sidestep her are fairly evident.
Ritz, since taking office in January, has been seen as a potential roadblock to school reform measures, ranging from Indiana's private school vouchers to the A-F grades themselves.
Even with problems with this year's ISTEP testing - a big factor in the A-F grades and teacher ratings - concerns about Ritz's department's speed are valid.
There's no problem with having Legislative Services - the General Assembly's nonpartisan research department - there to help. The recent review of last year's A-F grade problems said Bennett's crew was overmatched a year ago, too.
Hoosiers should be bothered by how this is all going down. It's a replay of the same old story we've had to listen to from Washington. Government officials unwilling to work together.
Excerpted from the Lafayette Journal
and Courier, HSPA Information Network