Thursday, October 24, 2013

Message from Teresa Meredith

Since her stunning election last November, ISTA has witnessed a growing and rarely subtle display of disrespect for Glenda Ritz' authority as Indiana's duly-elected Chief State School Officer from the governor-appointed members of the State Board of Education--the board that she is by law called upon to chair.

Those who have been around state government for decades have never witnessed anything quite like the "group dismissiveness" that she has faced from the balance of the appointed board--those who should have "gotten over it" a long time ago and become her colleagues in Indiana's education policy-making.

ISTA has watched Glenda Ritz be a model of patience and professionalism while trying to fulfill her twin roles as State Superintendent of Public Instruction and statutory chairperson of the State Board of Education.

You name it, she's faced it: Springing surprise resolutions at board meetings diminishing her authority, creating "shadow" policy-making committees chaired by someone other than her with calculated odds stacked against her, wasting taxpayer resources to essentially duplicate the work of the DOE by hiring lawyers, special assistants, and executive directors, being told with a straight face that blatantly Republican members of the board are independent, and inheriting an A-F school accountability system that needed to be overhauled from the ground up.

And so now, faced with yet another bit of "medicine" meted out by this board with which she's been dealt, while she was out of the country on business no less, Glenda responded--leveraging the very laws that she swore to uphold. And, yes, now, people are watching.....and supporting her all over again.

It is hoped that her action will better encourage and ultimately lead to increased transparency in government and education policy-making...and it is further hoped that the balance of Indiana's state board might take a moment to exhale and resolve to try to work with Glenda. Doubtful as that may be, wouldn't it be a mighty nice example of adult behavior modeling by which Hoosier children might benefit?

And yes, now, people are watching...and supporting her all over again.

-Teresa Meredith, ISTA President

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