Mike Pence: Pulls an ‘End Run’ on Glenda Ritz

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In gearing up for college football season, it would seem that Mike Pence has decided to pull a classic end run to get around Indiana’s Education Superintendent Glenda Ritz by issuing an executive order to create the Indiana Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI).

The mission of the Center for Education and Career Innovation (“CECI”), which was announced this morning, is to align, amplify and advance the work of Indiana’s public, private, and nonprofit K-12, higher education and workforce entities and partners to ensure Indiana is “A State That Works.”According to CECI’s website, Claire Fiddian-Green, who was named Special Assistant for Education Innovation to Indiana Governor Mike Pence in July 2013, and is responsible for implementing the Governor’s vision for K-12 and higher education, including the development of the administration’s policy and legislative agenda, is also the co-leader of CECI alongside Jackie Dowd, Governor Pence’s Special Assistant for Career Innovation.

Previously, Fiddian-Green served as the founding Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board (“ICSB”), a statewide charter school authorizing agency created during the 2011 legislative session. There, she was responsible for the overall planning, coordination, and supervision of the ICSB’s operations, including its process for authorizing new charter schools, monitoring authorized schools and holding these schools accountable for performance.

In response to Governor Mike Pence’s announcement that the Indiana Center for Education and Career Innovation would partner with the Indiana Department of Education, Daniel Altman, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Education issued the following statement:

“Partnerships require communication.  Unfortunately, Superintendent Ritz learned about the creation of this new agency through news reports, rather than from Governor Pence.  Superintendent Ritz has met with the Governor on many occasions, including as recently as two days ago.  However, neither he, nor his office, mentioned the creation of this new agency until this morning.

“Superintendent Ritz remains committed to transforming Indiana’s K-12 education system into one of equity and high quality for all students and she looks forward to working with all Hoosiers to achieve that goal.  Last November, 1.3 million Hoosiers said that they trusted her to run the Department of Education.  Hoosier students would be better off if the Governor would work with her, rather than around her on this vital issue.”

To view Mike Pence’s executive order, view: http://www.in.gov/ceci/files/EO_CECI_08_23_2013.pdf

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