Sunday, January 20, 2013

Random Thoughts...

Glenda Ritz and Phyllis Bush, January 19, 2013

by Phyllis Bush.

After attending yesterday's inauguration of Glenda Ritz as Superintendent of Public Instruction, a number of thoughts crossed my mind. The atmosphere was uplifting and positive, and I was especially impressed by the the focus on kids. When we entered the Rotunda, we were first greeted by Girl Scouts, and then we could hear some beautiful tunes being played by a saxophonist. As I read the program, much to my surprise, I saw that the musician was Bryan Thompson, a sophomore from Broad Ripple Magnet High School. There were also musical selections played by the IPS Perry Meridian High School String Quartet. The colors were presented by the JROTC Unit from IPS Pike High School. That was followed by singers from Broad Ripple High School.

After the ceremony was finished, there was a reception where people could visit the Superintendent's office and could congratulate Glenda Ritz. Her office was light, bright, and welcoming....and once again, the focus was on students, on literacy, and on learning.

After all of the years of negative attacks on public schools, and more especially on IPS schools, the choice of having so many students involved in this ceremony sent a strong message.

The more that I thought about this ceremony and about the overwhelming victory that Ms. Ritz achieved in November, I was struck by the fact that her victory over impossible odds has given hope to many of us who have been so discouraged by the negative and punitive nature that has emanated from the IDOE while Tony Bennett was in office. While, of course, Superintendent Ritz cannot change the sun, the moon, the stars, and the rain--let alone a hostile legislature, whose members are doing their best to marginalize her--her inauguration set a positive tone for what she wants to accomplish. To a great extent, she has become of a symbol of what might be. However, if we are to be realistic, she cannot do this alone. It is up to those of us who believe that the survival of public education is our last best hope for the kind of world we want. It is up to us to write letters, to send e-mails, to make phone calls, to inform and engage others to remind our super-majority legislature that we care about what happens to our kids.

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