Yoder said the reasons they gave had to do with how unhappy teachers and school administrators were, feeling shut out by Bennett, a hard-charging administrator who’d become the face of education reform in Indiana.
“As we go forward, we need to make sure everybody feels included in this conversation,” Yoder said. “I think that was more the message of this election result than anything else. It’s not a sign that we need to stop education reform or backtrack. We need to make sure that all our kids get a great education.”
Ritz said she too wants a great education for all Hoosier children.
“I’m not out to roll back all these reforms,” said Ritz, who acknowledged that she doesn’t even have the authority to do so. But she does think there needs to be a slow-down of some of the changes, especially some of the high-stakes testing like the third-grade reading assessment test that can impact whether a student gets promoted to the next grade.
During that slow-down period, she said, legislators need to do more listening about how the education laws are impacting local schools and local communities.
Reform supporters will be warily watching what Ritz does, once she’s in office, including the people she hires to fill key positions. They fear she could impose some bureaucratic hurdles that would force the slow-down she wants.
“She can make things difficult,” said Derek Redelman, the education point-person for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “But she’s got to know that the more difficult she makes it, the more people are just going to go around her.”