Red vs Blue November 11, 2016 at 21:28
In light of everyone’s discussion on the recent elections, there’s something I can’t get out of my mind.
I fully understood going into the election that now that I’m back in Indiana I can expect my state to go republican all the way down the line. What I didn’t expect, probably as a result of naivete on my part, was that voting republican down the line really means straight ticket. I wasn’t surprised when I saw the results of the polls significantly weighted toward republican president, governor, senator, state senate, etc. But what really shocked me was Glenda Ritz getting sacked. I thought even though we’re red through and through, no one as passionate and qualified about education as Glenda would get replaced with somebody that is essentially an unknown.
While I’m on the subject, I don’t understand why something like a state superintendent would be a partisan, elected office. As far as I’m concerned, qualifications (and passion) trump any political association. That position should be handled as more of an interview rather than an election. But I digress.
Obviously, it wasn’t difficult to find someone that was bragging about how their votes won big in Indiana, so I embraced the opportunity to speak with him. He explained, essentially, that he is a single issue voter and he will always and forever (unless the political parties flip again) vote republican because he’s into pro-life and to him that issue trumps (no pun intended) all other issues. That in and of itself is entirely fine, but then I asked him “by just clicking the button for straight ticket, all of the Indiana republicans essentially gave Glenda Ritz the boot because she’s not associated with the republican party. You do realize that she is easily the most qualified and best person for a tough job in a state that already has a pretty bad state of education and it’s only getting worse.”
He paused for a second, thought about it, and said “yeah, you’re right. I have heard really good things about her.”
The person in question has two children in varying grades in school, both currently attending public Indiana schools. He didn’t think about the repercussions of his straight-party vote.
I don’t know anything about Jennifer McCormick – it’s entirely possible she might be good for the role, but even though I didn’t speak with a full thirty-two (all you stat nerds know what I’m talking about!) people, I get the feeling that a lot of people directed their vote towards their disenfranchisement with the status quo and voted straight down the republican party line, and, as a result, Glenda Ritz was a casualty.
As an ex-teacher and as someone that truly believes education is important, I whole-heartedly believe Glenda Ritz is exactly what the state of Indiana needs to direct the future of public education. There’s a reason she was thrust into the spotlight in the first place – I have yet to meet an Indiana teacher that doesn’t support or endorse her.
In my state’s haste to paint the walls red, I believe we lost something truly great about Indiana into the bargain.
On a side note – I hope the rumors of Ben Carson becoming Secretary of Education are false. That’s another huge leap backward.