Legislators Split Along Party Lines on Pence's Education Changes

Dec 5, 2014

Gov. Mike Pence this week proposed making the state superintendent a position chosen by the state board of education. It's currently a statewide elected position.
Credit State of Indiana

Legislative leaders are split along party lines in their evaluations of Governor Mike Pence’s proposed changes to the state’s education hierarchy.

Governor Pence will eliminate the controversial Center for Education and Career Innovation, or CECI, which has been a thorn in the side of state Superintendent Glenda Ritz since its creation two years ago. 

But Pence also wants the General Assembly to allow the State Board of Education – made up of Pence appointees – to elect its own chair, a position held by Ritz. 

Buck Creek Republican Senator Brandt Hershman praised the proposals, noting the state model for education administration is the exact opposite of the local model.

“There is a different balance of power at the state level, and that different balance of power has created clashes,” Hershman said. “So this is a recognition that maybe the state model isn’t working quite the way…not as well as the local models are.”

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says the ultimate outcome of Pence’s proposals is to strip Ritz of her power.

“They have this pesky lone Democrat that was elected,” Pelath said. “They didn’t expect it and now they have to do something about it and they’re grossly overreacting and they’re showing themselves, I think, to be extraordinarily paranoid and insecure.”

Pelath did praise the governor for his decision to eliminate CECI.