Indiana Senate makes moves to get rid of Glenda Ritz as BOE Chair

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 10, 2014) – Indiana Senate lawmakers were the latest to chime in Tuesday among a growing group of legislators looking to remove Glenda Ritz from her seat at the head of the state board of education.

It is not looking good for Glenda Ritz. After the House passed their version of a bill that would effectively remove her from the chairmanship of the state board of education, the Senate gave the OK to their bill Tuesday, which also looks to limit the state superintendent’s power.

It’s gotten top billing in the Indiana Senate; Senate Bill No. 1. It aims to strip Ritz of her power on the state board of education and completely change the makeup of the board’s members.

“We have members walking out of meetings; we have members unable to get items on the agenda,” said State Senator Travis Holdman (R – Markle).

Holdman is authoring the bill and blaming Ritz for the board’s lack or harmony. In testimony Tuesday he even went as far as saying Ritz is directly responsible for an incredibly long and incredibly controversial 22 hour ISTEP exam.

“It’s a disruption for the whole building at the elementary level, even at upper grades because of this dysfunction that’s going on,” said Holdman.

Senate Bill One aims to strip Ritz of her power at the head of the board and have members elect a chair. Additionally, a current 11-member board would be reduced to nine members. Four members would be appointed by the governor, another 4 by house and senate leadership with both republicans and democrats having a say.

Tuesday’s debate came after the house approved their version of a similar bill that would limit the superintendent’s power.

The plan though is getting sweeping disapproval; namely from Indiana teachers.

“I believe I’m speaking for many educators across the state when I say we’ve grown tired, so tired of the education policies offered, one after another that include moving around the adults, creating new bureaucracies, shifting power and resources that have very little to do with improving student learning,” said Teresa Meredith, President of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Monday there will be a march on the statehouse, organized by Hoosiers who voted for Ritz and support her maintaining her position as chair.

SB1 heads to the floor of the senate where it will be debated next week.

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