Petition backs Ritz agenda
Nov 15, 2012 (Menafn - Herald-Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --When teacher Glenda Ritz defeated Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett in the general election, Ritz supporter Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer was thrilled.
But with that joy, also comes some concern that Ritz's ideas, which oppose many of Bennett's policies, will fall on deaf legislative ears. "We recognize that the governor has a lot of power for setting policy through his appointed members of the Indiana Department of Education and that the state Legislature has shown compliance with this privatization, top-down education agenda," said Fuentes-Rohwer, chairwoman of The Indiana Coalition for Public Education -- Monroe County and South Central Indiana. "But we think beating Tony Bennett against all odds ... shows a clear referendum that our state Legislature needs to support her leadership and respect our votes."
Although she was confident throughout her campaign, many people were surprised when Ritz, a teacher and librarian at Crooked Creek Elementary in Indianapolis, was able to defeat Bennett, who had greatly outraised her in campaign contributions and had a strong advantage in name recognition.
While supporters are happy with Ritz's win, many Hoosiers are curious to see how much change the educator will actually be able to implement working with Republican legislators and Gov.-elect Mike Pence.
Pence has voiced support for Bennett's education reform policies and will appoint members of the State Board of Education, which oversees education policy making.
When asked to comment on Ritz's election and working with her in the future, Pence's communications director Christy Denault said, "(Gov.-elect) Pence believes we have made great strides in education in recent years. He looks forward to meeting with Glenda Ritz as part of the transition effort and exploring ways to work together to increase educational success for all Hoosier children."
Ritz supporters, such as Fuentes-Rohwer, are making sure their support for the new state superintendent is heard. An online petition is circulating encouraging the governor, governor-elect and Legislature to take seriously voters' support of Ritz.
"The petition was an attempt to continue the momentum for Glenda Ritz and her platform and have a quick, tangible way to show our support," Fuentes-Rohwer said via email.
Some of the messages included on the petition include one from Amy Dedina in Odon that states, in part, "Please make no mistake: my vote for Glenda Ritz was ABSOLUTELY a vote AGAINST the 'reform' policies instigated by Tony Bennett and his cronies ..."
Andrew Libby, of Bloomington, also wrote, in part, "Please honor the wishes of Indiana's voters and allow Glenda Ritz to redirect Indiana's reform efforts in a more meaningful direction by reversing Daniels' and Bennett's initiatives."
As of Wednesday, more than 4,000 people had signed the petition, which can be found at http://chn.ge/TuLMT7 and will remain up until Thanksgiving.
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