Instead of listening to the public they represent, leaders are trying to circumvent the electorate and do what they wanted to do in the first place.
That not only defeats the purpose of the grassroots effort, it defeats the purpose of democracy. Voters said they didn’t like what was happening and clearly demanded it be changed. The majority said they wanted Ritz to lead the charge on education in the state. Now it seems state leaders are trying to take the job away.
That’s not how it’s supposed to work. If you lose an election, you don’t have to like who won and you don’t have to like their ideas or policies. But what is expected is that you find ways to work with fellow elected officials on doing the bidding of the electorate. You leave the overthrowing for the next election.
The irony is that if state leaders would stop and listen, they’d find people aren’t completely disagreeing with them. In most of the conversations we had with sources after the race — including many educators — we learned it wasn’t that people didn’t want education reform. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Many knew reform was needed in order for us to better educate our children. What they balked at was the way the reform was being approached.
Sweeping changes were made with little to no input from educators. Local educators said while accountability and student improvement are indeed what they want, the rapidity with which reforms have been implemented overburdened local school corporations that were already struggling with budget cuts.
More thought and time should be put into reforms, they said, so schools can implement them gradually.
Many of those voters agreed with Bennett’s campaign of cutting-edge reforms that will make Indiana the model for the nation, but a vote for Ritz was a vote for inclusive reform.