It’s time for a cease-fire. Time to set aside personal and partisan agendas. Time to stop flinging accusations and insults that only make this already bad situation worse.
Beyond a cooling-off period (and after what transpired this past week that can’t be rushed), the key players and their supporters need to focus on what they have in common rather than their differences.
For instance, it’s clear that Ritz and her team and Pence and his team all want to achieve the three goals outlined above — improve student achievement, provide more high-quality schools, strengthen skills in the workforce.
Although there are legitimate differences in philosophy, let’s unite around those goals and declare that differing opinions can’t be allowed to stop our state from progressing.
At the same time, both sides need to alter their attitudes and actions moving forward.
First, Republicans must get over the fact that they lost last year’s election for state superintendent. Ritz won, legitimately. And she has all the legal authority that comes with that victory.
Second, Ritz and her supporters need to accept that teacher accountability measures, the A-F school grading system, school vouchers, charters and standardized testing are all parts of state law. They don’t have to like those laws, but they do have to honor them. And Ritz, as state superintendent, has to do all in her ability to ensure those programs and policies work as intended.
Here’s the bottom line: Show respect. Respect for the person duly elected superintendent of public instruction, and respect for the office. Respect for the person elected governor, and for that office. Respect for the public servants appointed to the State Board of Education. Respect for the educators affected by state policies. Respect for the families also affected. And respect for the taxpayers who provide billions of dollars each year in the hope and trust that Indiana’s schools will one day excel.