Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

May 12, 2013

Schools chief Ritz on fast learning curve

INDIANAPOLIS — For many occupants of the Indiana Statehouse, the week after the General Assembly wraps up its final frenzy of work is a quiet one. But not for Glenda Ritz.

Less than 48 hours after legislators passed the last bill of the 2013 session, the state’s public schools chief was standing in front of a bank of computer monitors watching in real time as thousands of test-taking children across Indiana were repeatedly kicked off line.

It was cause for concern: The lost computer connections of 30,000 students taking Indiana’s high-stakes, high-stress assessment test known as ISTEP+ marked the third straight year of problems with the private company, CTB/McGraw Hill, that has a $95 million, four-year contract with the state to administer the test.

But Ritz kept her cool, even as service interruptions continued into the next day, triggering delays, upping anxiety, and prompting some members of the Indiana Board of Education to deem the situation “disastrous.”

“There was no panic on my end,” said Ritz. The longtime teacher, versed in computer technology in her training as a school media specialist, focused her sights on finding a fix to get through the testing window.  

Then she turned to tougher questions — yet to be resolved — on whether the test results, once they come in, will be rendered invalid.

Ritz may be a novice on the job, but after four months in office she’s fully immersed in the duties of the state’s top school administrator, overseeing the state’s Department of Education and the 1,900-plus public schools that serve more than 1 million Indiana children.

“It’s a good fit,” is how she describes her new roll, after a career spent both as a classroom teacher and a devoted student of education policy.

Ritz’s surprise victory last November in the race for superintendent of public instruction was the big political story in the Statehouse. A longtime Republican voter, she’d never sought public office before deciding to run as a Democrat to unseat the Republican incumbent, Tony Bennett.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks