- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Thursday that he plans to eliminate The Center for Education and Career Innovation, the state education agency he created during his ongoing battles with Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz.
- Pence also plans to push for state lawmakers to make changes that would see the governor-appointed State Board of Education elect its own chair.
- Despite the dissolution of the second education agency seeming like a move for peace, the push for changes to the Board of Education is the latest blow to Ritz, who would otherwise be the de facto chair as part of her position as superintendent. It also doesn't help that the board on Wednesday claimed authority over turnaround interventions and related federal funds, something that the department of education's Outreach Division for School Improvement already handled.
Pence's move follows last month's threats from legislators that "action nobody will like" would be taken if the squabbling between the governor and Ritz continues. This power battle has been going on for some time, though, and also includes calls from the likes of Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar for state superintendent of education to become a governor-appointed position.
This is, of course, a questionable demand since Ritz was elected to her position by the state's citizens. It would look especially terrible, as legislators have noted, because Ritz is also the only Democrat in a state office, so her being stripped of power by a Republican majority wouldn't look good. If Pence's push for the board of education chairman to be elected by its appointees, however, Brinegar will have received at least one of his wishes.
In June and August, the conflict threatened Indiana's federal No Child Left Behind waiver. Of course, that secondary education department created by Pence in an attempt to transfer various powers away from Ritz didn't help.