Thursday, September 5, 2013

For Some, Democracy Only Counts When You Win

In a thinly veiled power-grab, Daniel Elsener, a member of the Indiana State Board of Education, has, with the help of his colleagues on the State Board and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, attempted to invalidate the 1.3 million Indiana votes that helped Glenda Ritz defeat Tony Bennett for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Pence and Elsener seem to have a philosophy of "If your candidate can't win an election, do everything you can to deny the winner the ability to do her job."

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education--Monroe County and South Central Indiana posted a summary of yesterday's State BOE meeting from one of their members today. In a post titled Does Democracy Not Count When Your Candidate Loses? Jenny Robinson wrote,
The arrogance and contempt that the appointed members of the State Board of Education are showing toward the elected state superintendent are well on their way to becoming a political liability. In the meeting on September 4, board of education member Dan Elsener sprang a proposal on Ritz in the board comment period--a proposal to give a committee headed by himself the power to do strategic planning for the Department of Education. He presented it in an aristocratic mumble, without making eye contact, as if he couldn't be bother to enunciate clearly. He nested it inside generic accolades for Indiana's academic achievements and couched it in terms of giving the state superintendent the support she deserves. Right. That's support like a dagger in the back. Should we give Elsener some credit for not pretending too hard, or was the thinly veiled insolence part of his strategy? He brushed away Ritz's objection that the rushed motion violated protocol. Board members promptly passed it.

...How did he get the authority to set the agenda for public K-12 education in the state of Indiana, instead of the superintendent of public instruction elected by 1.3 million Hoosiers? He's committed to all the reforms that Ritz ran against--the A-F system, IREAD3, the sanctity of ISTEP and testing regimens in general. Republicans need to think about how to explain this to their constituents, because it doesn't look good. What it looks like, frankly, is spitting in voter's faces.
Be sure to read the whole post...

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