(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana Republicans are also looking at legislation that would take away some control over public education from the Democrat State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.
Glenda Ritz defeated Republican incumbent Tony Bennett in the November election. To many, the change in leadership was a referendum on many of the public education reforms Bennett had been successful in implementing the prior four years.
On Tuesday, the House Education Committee voted to approve House Bill 1342, The Indianapolis Star reports. The legislation would move oversight of the Indiana Choice Scholarship program from the Ritz-led Indiana Department of Education to the Office of Management and Budget, which reports to GOP Governor Mike Pence.
Ritz had campaigned heavily against the nation’s largest private school voucher program, but said at the time she took office that she would faithfully carry out the program.
Lawmakers discussed two other education-related bills Tuesday. House Bill 1337 includes a provision that would give the responsibility of making changes to the state’s A through F grading system for school performance to the governor-appointed State Board of Education and the Indiana Education Roundtable. The A through F scale had previously been handled by the Department of Education.
House Bill 1334 would prohibit school districts from collecting union dues from teachers on behalf of their unions. Often times, school districts automatically deduct the dues from teachers’ paychecks.
The measure was opposed by the Indiana State Teachers Association, but supported by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
All three bills passed the Education Committee on a party line vote. They now go to the House floor.