Earlier this month, Jennifer McCormick was sworn in as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. She defeated Glenda Ritz in the November election. Some educators I have spoken to expressed surprised and/or disappointment that McCormick won. I was not surprised and I expected her to win. Indiana, along with a small percentage of other states, still allows straight ticket voting. If you have driven around Indianapolis during the last few years, you may have seen, “Pence Must Go!” signs, but our soon to be Vice President had support in many other places in our state. Since Indiana is known as a Republican stronghold, with Pence on the ballot for Vice President, I fully expected straight ticket voting and people who wanted change to result in many Republican races being won in Indiana including the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
I too rejoiced, with educators around the state when Ritz defeated Tony Bennett, and I would have been content if she was elected again. Since McCormick’s platform was similar to Ritz’s platform, I am encouraged she will work hard for our students and support educators.
One point McCormick mentioned during her campaign was her administrative experience and her promise to improve communication with schools and state agencies. This struck a chord with some educators. Last school year, during Ritz’s tenure Title I funds were frozen due to miscalculations by the Indiana Department of Education. This affected my school; we had to cancel a few family events because we could not spend federal funds allocated to those events. Although Ritz stated the miscalculations happened under the previous administration, the communication about those errors and the process to rectify those miscalculations was during her tenure.
It is up to stakeholders in our educational landscape to hold our elected officials accountable. I appreciate the hard work of Former Superintendent Ritz and hope Superintendent McCormick carries on Ritz’s work and keeps educators and students at the forefront of her decisions.