MUNCIE, Indiana – Why should Hoosiers care about the education fisticuffs of Mike Pence and Glenda Ritz? For the same reason Hoosiers should take notice when Dr. Diane Ravitch, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and national education historian, backs the campaign of a school board seat in Seattle, Washington.
Muncie Voice has shared plenty about the dysfunction in Indianapolis created by Governor Mike Pence‘s formation of a new level of government bureaucracy, and Doug Martin has shared plenty on his website. In this case, the seat was Sue Peters in Seattle, and the opponent was the Bill Gates Foundation. Not literally, but financially.
Sue Peters, a parent activist, ran a grass-roots campaign for Seattle school board, and won. Why should Indiana pay attention to the grass-roots campaign?
Because it is almost identical to the campaign ran by Glenda Ritz – it was supported by teachers and parents.
Who was the opposition – the name doesn’t matter, but what does matter is who supported the campaign. Sue Peters words:
My opponent’s campaign and political action committee (PAC) spent a record-breaking $240,000+, much of it on negative campaigning, most of it bankrolled by a small group of wealthy proponents of corporate ed reform and charter schools…The PAC attacked my candidacy four times throughout the campaign with progressively more mendacious and offensive mailers. The attacks focused almost entirely on defending the Gates Foundation…”
The free market capitalists are bankrolling school board seats to expand charter programs or advancing the privatization of our school system.
The same free marketers who are driving to eliminate unions, cut government regulation, strip workers of their rights, etc. are also behind Common Core standardized testing. You saw how important it was to Tony Bennett – he had to increase grades from a C to an A so they could keep pushing their privatization agenda – it cost him his job in Florida.
However what most journalists in Indiana are missing is the underlying fact that charters do not outperform public schools. Even with all the hype, new equipment, the opportunity to screen students, etc., they still don’t outperform public schools. The hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at “fixing the education system” by corporations, foundations, and non-educator politicians, the bottom line is they make decisions based on profit schemes versus the needs of teachers-students-parents.
So, if you think Gov. Mike Pence is simply playing politics with the formation of the CECI to usurp State Education Superintendent, Glenda Ritz, you’re only scratching the surface. Gov. Pence hired all the education reform players who worked with the former superintendent Tony Bennett. Who also worked with Mitch Daniels, the Gates Foundation, and reformers like Jeb Bush to privatize Indiana’s schools. They have a financial stake in Indiana, so they will not give up until Glenda Ritz is removed from the equation.
Now is the time to inform ourselves and look past media spin by standing with Glenda Ritz against monied interests in Indianapolis – their goals are not the same as ours.