(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is backing Dr. Jennifer McCormick in the race for state superintendent of public instruction over incumbent Glenda Ritz. The organization has very rarely stepped into statewide races and this marks the first time ever to endorse a challenger in one. McCormick is the current Yorktown Community Schools superintendent.
“Our volunteer leadership voted to take this unusual step because we can’t have four more years of divisiveness and dysfunction from the Department of Education. It’s time to hit the reset button,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.
“We need a state superintendent who understands the importance of having a productive working relationship with the stakeholders engaged in the state’s education policy. Glenda Ritz has proven she’s incapable of doing that and has over politicized the system.”
In contrast, the Indiana Chamber notes McCormick’s “positive relationships with both educators and the business community. She will be the constructive, get-things-done type of a superintendent that we need in today’s climate.”
States Dr. McCormick: “I am honored to receive this support from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Over the last two decades, I have served at every level in our state’s K-12 public education system, as a classroom teacher, principal and superintendent. I am running for this office because Indiana deserves the best Department of Education in the nation.
“I look forward to working with our state’s dynamic business community and all stakeholders as we strive to put students first and prepare them for careers in our great state.”
The Indiana Chamber has long been involved in education policy because businesses need good, qualified talent to thrive.
“We are well aware of the current workforce challenges that must be addressed by business leaders and educators working together,” Brinegar explains. “We need a superintendent who will roll up her sleeves, and work in tandem with other state agencies and organizations to make the needed progress. That is exactly what we expect Jennifer McCormick to do.”
When it comes to specific policies under Ritz that are of concern, Brinegar is quick to cite several.
“Maintaining the education policies that have improved student outcomes in recent years is at risk,” he states. “Whether that’s our assessments, school and teacher accountability or parental choice of which school is best for their children. Ritz is in favor of none of that.”
Her clear opposition to any type of accountability may be the most troubling for the Indiana Chamber.
“The accountability aspect is so vital because this is what tells parents, students and the community at-large how well their schools and teachers are performing, so that parents can make informed decisions about what school their child attends,” Brinegar stresses.
“Jennifer McCormick believes in the importance of accountability and she demonstrates it every day as a successful superintendent who leads a team in her schools and focuses on what’s best for student learning.”
One of the Indiana Chamber’s top objectives for the 2017 legislative session will be expansion of state-supported pre-K to more students from low-income families.
“Jennifer McCormick realizes that the at-risk group needs to be the focus and she will make effective use of the state’s scarce resources,” Brinegar offers. “We can count on her to administer this important program properly. We can’t risk having what happened to ISTEP happen with pre-K.”
The Indiana Chamber partners with 24,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”