NewsPublic Affairs / October 17, 2016

State Superintendent Candidates Agree On Policy, Disagree On Organization

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Article origination WBOI-FM
Republican Jennifer McCormick, left, and Democrat Glenda Ritz, right, met in their only scheduled debate Monday on the campus of IPFW. - Lauren Chapman/IPBS

Republican Jennifer McCormick, left, and Democrat Glenda Ritz, right, met in their only scheduled debate Monday on the campus of IPFW.

Lauren Chapman/IPBS

FORT WAYNE -- The candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction held their first and only debate in Fort Wayne Monday. 

The candidates have similar viewpoints on policy issues, but differ on how they would lead Indiana’s Department of Education.

Republican Jennifer McCormick criticized the way her opponent, Democratic incumbent Glenda Ritz, communicates with Indiana schools.

“It’s becoming very splintered, it’s not timely,” McCormick said. “At times it’s not meaningful, it’s not manageable.”

But Ritz says she gives weekly updates and travels the state every week to talk to school officials.

McCormick says she would like to see more transparency in how Indiana calculates its disbursement of federal dollars. As an example, she cited last school year, when some schools received fewer Title I funds for low-income students because of a miscalculation by the Indiana Department of Education.

LISTEN TO THE DEBATE

 

Ritz says this happened before she became state superintendent, and said the Department of Education was transparent in fixing the problem.

“The calculations are online, so the calculations are out there and have been out there,” Ritz said. “In fact, they’re required to be out there.”

The two candidates agreed on many policy issues, including expanding the state’s pre-K program, changing the way schools and teachers are evaluated, working to attract and retain teachers, and replacing the standardized ISTEP exam.

Watch the debate

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