Indiana schools chief candidates split on leadership, ISTEP

Glenda Ritz
FILE - In this April 30, 2015, file photo, Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz speaks during a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Ritz is expected to become the third Democrat to announce for governor, joining former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg and state Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz has often been at odds with Republicans who control the rest of Indiana government since her upset election victory four years ago.

Ritz is seeking re-election against Republican Jennifer McCormick, the Yorktown Community Schools superintendent who is critical of Ritz’s management of the Education Department. McCormick says she would work better with the General Assembly.

The election winner will have a role in matters such as the state’s selection of a new standardized exam to replace the much-maligned ISTEP test and the push for expansion of state-funded preschool programs.

Ritz has opposed Republican-led initiatives on student testing and expansion of the state’s private school voucher and charter school programs. Ritz says she’s been subject of attacks from Republican Gov. Mike Pence and GOP legislators.