Tuesday, December 10, 2013

indiana is a hub of teatard strategery on public education...,


NYTimes | For Glenda Ritz, who took office as Indiana’s top education official this year, the awkward reality of being the lone statewide elected Democrat here did not take long to blossom into all-out combat. 

Now her conflict with Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative former congressman, has become one of the most public and combative political fights to face his new administration. 

Ms. Ritz has accused the governor of creating a new education agency to undermine her office. Mr. Pence says that was not his aim. But the tension, months in the making, has boiled over at monthly State Board of Education meetings, where Ms. Ritz and board members, who are appointed by the governor, continue to wrestle for control over the state’s education policies. 

In recent weeks, Ms. Ritz, the state superintendent of public instruction, has sued the board, walked out of a meeting to prevent a vote and accused Mr. Pence of orchestrating a subversive “power grab” against the Department of Education. 

“I feel he wants to have one agency for education, and that’s going to be the agency,” she said in a recent interview about the governor’s new agency, the Center for Education and Career Innovation, known as C.E.C.I. She added, “It is interfering with how I’m operating and how I’m going about making decisions.” 

The center, with fewer than 20 staff members, was created by Mr. Pence’s executive order with the broad mission of better aligning the state’s K-12, higher education and work force development strategies, according to Claire Fiddian-Green, a co-director of the center and a special assistant to the governor. The center also provides staffing for the Board of Education, which previously relied on Ms. Ritz’s 228 employees at the Department of Education for legal counsel and administrative support.