State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz (D) was in Brookville Wednesday night.
Sponsored by the Franklin and Fayette county Democratic parties, Ritz spoke about her vision for education, her plan for assessing students and her current controversy involving Gov. Mike Pence.
Ritz has remained in the headlines recently due to an ongoing conflict with Pence after he created the Center for Education and Career Innovation, which is a board using money from the Department of Education, Ritz’s budget.
According to the Brookville American-Democrat, Ritz said the board is made up of board members from her predecessor Tony Bennett, and the board is to oversee her work.
She said a motion at a Wednesday meeting in Indianapolis to allow the other board to create expert advice on academic standards for math and language arts was improper against Indiana Code so she declared it out of order and abruptly adjourned the meeting.
Ritz’s visit to Franklin County wasn’t completely surrounded by controversial topics, as according to the Brookville newspaper, she began by thanking democrats and educators for their attendance.
She talked first about building an educational system that can be used by educators and students using resources that are readily available. The goal of the system is to have equity and high quality. Ritz formed an Outreach program. This consists of 13 coordinators. Within this program, there are 12 partners. One of the partners is United Way. Partners such as United Way know how to access the resources needed by students and educators.
The Brookville American-Democrat reported that Ritz used an example of a student named Johnny not going to school. If groups are already working with families and those groups know that Johnny is not showing up to school, they do not have to wait for school to initiate the program to work on getting Johnny back in school. She said that could be expanded so that administrators, teachers and others do not have to spend time finding and orchestrating resources. Instead, they are already activated.
Next she talked about the assessing of students. She said with the No Child Left Behind program under the Bush administration teachers were forced to teach fifth graders on the fifth grade level even if students were not able to read or if they could read at the ninth grade level. And now with their pay being based on assessments on how their students test scores are improving on ISTEPs on that fifth grade levels the same thing is happening.
Instead, she said the students should be assessed on individual achievement.
It is still a work in progress but basically it is Do Not Pass, Pass and Pass Plus system. Within those basic categories, they will be broken up into other categories. Ritz said each student will have reasonable expectations on improvements they can make in one year’s time and then the teacher can be assessed on that growth or lack of growth of each individual student.
Read more about Glenda Ritz’s visit to Franklin County in the Brookville American- Democrat.