National Board Certified Teacher Glenda Ritz presented the voters of Indiana clear, consistent, convincing evidence that she deserved to be the new state school chief.
Although outspent by a 5 to 1 margin, Glenda defeated incumbent Tony Bennett (R), who had been hailed as a national example of education reform. She was the only Democrat to win a state office in Indiana, and she won it with more votes than almost any other candidate.
Glenda, a 33-year teaching veteran, is a library/media specialist at Crooked Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis, and serves (as I do) on the Board of Directors of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Glenda’s victory came as a result of massive grassroots reaction to Bennett’s policy moves, rejected by parents and teachers across the state and across political lines. Glenda’s platform, however, was straightforward and student-centered:
1. Give more time to education, less time to testing.
2. Give more control to local school districts to implement state and federal standards
3. Make sure every child is safe and respected at school and at school activities.
4. Make teacher licensing and evaluation standards top in the nation.
5. Clear the barriers to quality vocational education.
Her decision to run and her victory should serve as an encouragement to teacher leaders across the nation: Don’t just complain; be the change.