Banner Graphic, 8/9/16
A former librarian and media specialist, Ritz spent much of her career thinking about how new technology fit into the larger learning environment.
"Infusion of technology has always been my thing, It is ever-changing," Ritz said, adding that adults have to adjust to the changing conditions, so it is good for students to be introduced to new innovations.
Ritz worked visits to South Putnam and Central elementary into her schedule before getting back to Indianapolis for meetings.
The whirlwind visit of the high school included a brief tour of the library and the new technology center. Director of Curriculum and Technology Tona Gardner was happy to show off the new technology center, the site of a former computer lab now rendered redundant by each student in the high school being issued a Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga.
It was a way for Ritz to see the good that Department of Education is doing at the local level, as the 1:1 rollout was made possible by an Innovation Planning Grant and a Digital Learning Grant, both through the DOE Office of eLearning.
Monday, August 8, 2016
This new approach hired high-quality educators living in nine geographic regions across the state to provide principals with a direct line of communication to the Department of Education.
In its first year, these outstanding outreach coordinators helped 103 schools move from low-performing to high-performing. Because of Outreach, hundreds of thousands of students are in better schools, and they never had to change schools.
The 2016-17 school year was supposed to be the last year for ISTEP testing, but a panel tasked with picking a replacement has doubts about how possible that is. The panel, established by the Indiana General Assembly to create a new statewide test, has held three meetings, and members still aren't sure what kind of test they want to consider. Testing experts have told the committee building a test can take up to two years, which has some members wondering if they need to push back the ISTEP's demise.
There the Superintendent talked to dozens about issues educators face today as well as finding a replacement for ISTEP. Ritz says the panel tasked with finding a replacement has met three times but still no real progress, “I want to move towards what I would call a growth assessment where we know where children are preforming over the course of a school year. I want to make sure that we have good information that is quickly given to parents, teacher and students.”
Muncie Star Press, 7-24-16
I travel throughout Indiana every week, and everywhere I go, students, parents and educators tell me that we spend too much time testing and not enough time teaching and learning. That is why I was encouraged by House Enrolled Act 1395, which created a panel that was charged with finding a way to reduce the amount of time spent on testing, reduce the amount of money spent on testing, increase transparency for schools, teachers and students, all while taking advantage of newly available federal flexibility to end the pass-fail approach of ISTEP.
As a member of this panel, I approached this work with excitement over how it could bring meaningful change to our classrooms for both our students and our teachers. As the state superintendent, I met with the chair prior to the panel‘s first meeting and promised that the Indiana Department of Education would provide any and all necessary resources to this panel as it finds a way beyond ISTEP. Personally, I prepared to bring much-needed ideas about a streamlined, student-centered testing system that can actually inform teaching and learning.
Unfortunately, after three months of meetings, we are no closer to getting rid of ISTEP than we were four years ago.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Washington Post | Valerie Strauss
In November 2012, the voters of Indiana chose Glenda Ritz, a veteran educator, to become the state’s superintendent of public instruction. Ritz, a Democrat, upset the incumbent, a Republican named Tony Bennett who had become a darling of the corporate school reform. She had campaigned against many of Bennett’s key policies, including merit pay for teachers tied to student standardized test scores, vouchers and high-stakes standardized testing. She won more votes than the governor-elect, Mike Pence, and wound up as the only Democrat holding statewide office in the conservative state.
Monday, July 18, 2016
"The numbers reported this period show that Hoosiers are committed to re-electing Superintendent Ritz for another term," said Annie Mansfield, campaign manager. "Superintendent Ritz now has well over half a million dollars cash on hand, after raising $242,000 this quarter, creating an 8-to-1 cash advantage over her opponent."
Friday, July 15, 2016
“In his time as Governor, Mike Pence has consistently put politics before Hoosier students," said Annie Mansfield, campaign manager. "He created a duplicate education agency through executive order. He turned down tens of millions of dollars in desperately needed Pre-K funding because of his extreme political ideology. And he removed the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction as Chair of the State Board of Education, disenfranchising 1.3 million Hoosier voters."
“We’re developing a legislative agenda,” Ritz said Tuesday at an event for teacher leaders in Indianapolis. “We are going to be getting groups together to make sure we are always on the next steps: What it is we need to do and where it is that we’re headed.”
Ritz’s effort continues a conversation that began last year when some Indiana districts reported problems finding teachers and keeping them in the classroom, but despite many debates and a 49-member panel dedicated to finding solutions, legislators took little action, passing just two laws that aligned with the panel’s recommendations.
This week, her event featured college of education professors from Butler, Marian and Purdue universities and teachers from across the state, including 2006 Milken Educator Award-winner Marjorie Ramey.
As Indiana tries to decide the future of testing in classrooms across the state, it’s also dealing with complicated new federal rules.
After years of adapting its testing program to meet the stringent requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, Indiana officials are figuring out how to take advantage of the new flexibility allowed under the new Every Student Succeeds Act.
The new education law doesn’t take full effect until next year, but state officials are starting to get ready.
Here’s what you need to know about the new law and how it could affect schools in the state
Chicago Tribune, 7/1/2016
More than 100 kids enjoyed the sunny weather Friday morning, playing basketball, a game of tag or hula-hooping at Moving in the Spirit Ministries Inc. center in Gary.
They were working up an appetite for lunch, and Indiana's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was on hand to see the turnout for one of the sites for the Summer Feeding Program.
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Goshen News, 6/24/16
I am appalled by what the representatives of the state of Indiana are doing to our education system. As a person who has worked in industry for more than 40 years and now teaches welding at West Noble High School, I am ashamed of what I see happening to our children. What you people in the Indiana legislature are doing is unbelievable. You are requiring the schools to exhaust 24 to 29 days for state-required testing in one year’s time. This amounts to between 13½ to 15½ percent of the school year just for testing.
Here’s an example (of the dilemma): Students are pulled from classes in order to be given ISTEP tests. The testing will pull students from three of their required classes during a two-day period. This puts the student behind in three different classes, which now places the other students and teachers behind. The teacher must try to bring the student back on track, which requires the student to catch up in three different class subjects lost in those two days.
Indiana Public Media, 6/22/2016
The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count data book, a national report on child wellbeing, reports Indiana ranks 40th in the nation for preschool enrollment: parents of 60 percent of Indiana’s three and four year olds say their children are not in school. Only 10 states have fewer young children in school programs.
According to some experts, missing out on those early years is a big deal.
“Success starts early,” said Kent Mitchell of Early Learning Indiana. “You know kids who start behind stay behind.”
NWI Times, 6/19/16
Among their solutions are state-funded pre-kindergarten for all children, more affordable college and post-secondary vocational training, greater investment in the state's roads and infrastructure, expanded rural broadband internet access, improved drug treatment programs, preserving the state's water resources and taking better care of Hoosier veterans.
Ritz said she is committed to extending pre-kindergarten to all 4-year-olds, replacing the state's A-F school rating system, reducing standardized testing, improving the high school graduation rate and treating teachers as professionals.
"Our schools are strongest when politics stops at the schoolyard and lets teachers teach and lets students learn," Ritz said. "Our state needs a superintendent who moves beyond ideology and politics and puts the focus where it needs to be — educating our children to be prosperous in our economy."
NWI Times, 6/20/16
Simply put, early childhood education pays off, both for the individual and for society.
Indiana already pays about $8 billion a year on K-12 education. Adding universal pre-K in quality-rated education programs would cost about $150 million a year. Ritz said reprioritizing existing funds within the Indiana Department of Education, along with federal money, would help defray the cost.
With population trends declining, infrastructure should be in place in local schools. Funding should mostly be limited to adding more teachers qualified in early childhood education.
Making preschool education available for all children must become a priority.
CBS 4 Indy, 6/20/16
Multiple locations across Indiana will take part in the Indiana Department of Education’s 2016 Summer Food Service Program.
The program provides free, nutritious meals to children 18 and under at more than 1,000 locations around the state.
“I am pleased to announce the sites for the Summer Food Service Program today,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. “With more than one in five Hoosier students living in poverty, programs like the Summer Food Service Program are essential to providing adequate nutrition to our most vulnerable students.”
By seizing "missed opportunities" with federal grants and re-directing "wasteful spending" from efforts such as school vouchers, Democrat state schools chief Glenda Ritz and gubernatorial candidate John Gregg outlined joint campaign plans to fund $150 million per year for universal pre-Kindergarten.
Ritz pitched a statewide pre-K program earlier this month but went into more detail Thursday with Gregg. The plan relies on seeking federal grants as well as "unspent" state dollars. They said they have identified more than $200 million in state resources for pre-K, including anticipated savings from ditching ISTEP and creating a new, more streamlined standardized testing system.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Superintendent Ritz came to the Department of Education with the vision that reflected her 34 years of teaching: Imagining the possibilities and making them happen.
FW Journal Gazette, 6/7/16
Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz on Tuesday outlined her 2016 education policy priorities with a spotlight on expanding pre-kindergarten to all Hoosier children.
She wants to make high quality pre-K available within the boundaries of every school corporation in the state regardless of income of the child.
"Through a combination of leveraging federal dollars, reverting state allocations, and eliminating wasteful spending in the state's budget, the funds are there if the political will exists," she said. "With less than 1 percent of the state's annual budget, we can ensure more of our children are kindergarten ready."
FW Journal Gazette, 6/6/16
Some sites provide breakfast, a snack or dinner as part of the summer lunch program. The meals have been offered to low-income families since 1975, said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, who was at the library to oversee the first day of the Summer Food Service Program.
The program serves about 3 million meals statewide each summer and about 70,000 a day, Ritz said. With 22 percent of Hoosier children living in poverty, the program is a necessity to keep children healthy and ready to learn, she added.
Julie Sutton, the Indiana Department of Education’s director of school and community nutrition, estimated the program has grown by about 10 percent each of the past three years, a goal set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal department in charge of the program. Exact numbers were not available.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz is calling on state leaders to implement a universal pre-kindergarten program by 2020, an endeavor she estimates would cost the state $150 million a year.
Ritz highlighted the proposal in releasing her legislative priorities Tuesday — months ahead of the next General Assembly session but amid an increasingly tense race for governor between Republican Gov. Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg, whose campaign she is supporting.
Ritz's plan to extend publicly funded pre-kindergarten across the state would constitute a major expansion of the $10 million-a-year pilot program now run in five Indiana counties.
Indiana Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, 6/5/16
As pediatricians caring for children in communities across the state, we understand the connection between nutrition and health. Children typically consume up to half of their daily calories in school, and therefore the nutritional quality of school meals is of vital importance.
We as a country are at a critical crossroads in regards to child nutrition and obesity prevention. Congress stands poised to renew child nutrition legislation, and there are bipartisan solutions on the table that would strengthen key nutrition programs and build on progress we’ve already made. The bill by Rokita, R-Indianapolis, is not that solution. His bill is partisan, it rolls back successful child nutrition programs that we know work, and it would make school meals less healthy and less widely available to children who need them. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes Rep. Rokita’s legislation, and so do we.
Diane Ravitch, 6/6/16
Since radical extremists took control of state government in Indiana, the governor and legislators have been on an absurd mission to destroy public education, to drain resources from public schools and give it to charter operators and religious schools, and to ruin the teaching profession.
One person has stood in their way: Glenda Ritz, the only statewide elected official who is a Democrat. She has fought to stop the madness, and the governor and legislature have tried to strip all power from her office.
She has fought hard to protect public education and educators.
Glenda has been endorsed by the Network for Public Education Action Fund.
I happily endorse Glenda Ritz for re-election as State Superintendent of Public Schools.
Journal Gazette, 6/2/2016
Two years ago, Gov. Mike Pence didn’t even apply for $80 million in federal pre-kindergarten funding. But on Thursday he sent a letter expressing interest in a new grant before the application window or details have even been released.
Pence shocked Democrats – and even some Republicans – in the fall of 2014 when he announced the state wouldn’t apply for the money. The decision came after the Indiana Department of Education and Family and Social Services Administration spent months preparing the application.
“Sadly, we have been here before with the Governor,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said. “Over two years ago when the Governor ‘expressed interest’ in seeking pre-K funding, the Department (of Education) spent hundreds of hours applying for $80 million in federal funding only to have the Governor change his mind and cancel the application at the last minute.”
She said Indiana is now years behind in implementing pre-K in the state and Hoosier children deserve better.