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No really, we meant it

Hoosier citizens concerned about recent education reforms want Republican leaders to know they ousted Republican Superintendent of Tony Bennett for a reason.

The day after Democrat Glenda Ritz scored a surprising win, Gov. Mitch Daniels -- along with legislative leaders and incoming Gov. Mike Pence -- said the defeat didn't affect their mandate for education reform at all.

Instead, they separated Bennett's personality and tenor from the policies he advocated.

A petition on change.org has been designed to push back -- pointing out that Ritz received 1.3 million votes -- more than Pence -- and the voters sent a clear message on the direction of school reform.

"On the contrary: when Indiana voters elected Glenda Ritz as superintendent, we rejected the top-down, corporate reform model imposed by the state. We embraced Ritz's platform and her research-backed proposals to support and improve our public schools," the petition said.

It currently has about 7,200 signatures, and calls on state leaders to "respect voters' clear message on the direction of public education in Indiana."

Among the positions taken by Ritz, the petition points out she ran against high-stakes testing; more local control for school boards; top teacher licensing standards and stopping the flow of public tax dollars to private education companies.

One Fort Wayne woman signed the petition with this message: "We voted for Glenda Ritz and against the current educational reform. Let her do the job for which we elected her and stop the rape of public education."

To contact Niki Kelly please email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.

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