INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Mike Pence is trying to sell to Hoosiers the idea that he cares about the overall well-being of Indiana schools following the dramatic drop of ISTEP test scores across the state. With today’s visit to Hamilton Heights Elementary School, Pence is expected to tout a temporary pause on teacher and school accountability standards.
However, educators and parents simply aren’t buying Mike Pence’s sudden about-face when it comes to school accountability – an attempt to save his career in an election year. And just in November, Pence told Muncie teachers who were upset about the ISTEP scores to “not take it personally” when their jobs were potentially on the line.
“Mike Pence and Statehouse Republicans have finally joined Glenda Ritz in tackling one of today’s biggest problems facing Indiana’s schools. For well over a year, Glenda Ritz foresaw the ISTEP+ score problem and called for Indiana to move away from the one-size-fits-all, high stakes approach of the entire testing system. However, it was Mike Pence who – after ignoring the issue and trying to strip Ritz of her elected duties – did an about-face and flip-flopped on this issue, an attempt to save himself from another PR crisis,” said John Zody, Chairman. “The truth is, Mike Pence can’t save face on this issue and Hoosier parents and educators know who their real advocate is at the Statehouse: Glenda Ritz. Mike Pence can’t pick and choose which issues matter to him, and it’s offensive for him to tell educators to ‘not take it personally’ when the success of their students is on the line.”
When it comes to Mike Pence, it seems he’d rather use his old-fashioned policies to pick and choose who succeeds in Indiana. In just one term, Mike Pence denied the state an $80 million grant that would have created a statewide Pre-K system and slashed opportunities for rural and urban schools in favor of vouchers and loans to charter schools. Mike Pence continues to prioritize his ideology ahead of commonsense — making it clear he just doesn’t understand how hard things are for middle class Hoosiers.
Hoosier Democrats, including Superintendent Glenda Ritz, know that to create a better economy, we must responsibly invest in education and provide opportunities to all Indiana schools. To save the struggling schools in urban and rural areas, Ritz would make sure they have the opportunities they need so they can keep good teachers and help their students win in the classroom. And unlike Mike Pence, Glenda Ritz would never say no to the opportunity to expand statewide early childhood education.