Ritz Touts Reading in Education, Criticizes Standardized Assessments

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz
Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz

One of Indiana’s most staunch advocates for public education ventured to Plymouth on Thursday.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was the invited guest speaker at the Marshall County Reading Council’s spring banquet. Between promoting several of her initiatives in elective office, Ritz took time to criticize the way standardized tests are being utilized, as well as their effect on student learning.

She says she once had a student tell her they didn’t need to read because they performed well on a reading test.

“They think that reading at the act of it is for a test,” says Ritz. “And I will tell you, since 2001, that’s what’s been happening in the state of Indiana and all over the nation with No Child Left Behind to be quite honest. Kids have a sense that if it’s not on a test, then why should I learn it?”

MCRC was celebrating the promotion of reading and writing in the local area during last night’s event.

Among the topics covered was child poverty and the challenges it presents for learning. Using resources typically reserved for a State of the Classroom address, Ritz partnered to produce a documentary on the issue. She used the opportunity to affirm her support for wraparound services.

Ritz also took questions and addressed the consistent issue of teacher pay. She says incentivizing leadership through National Board Certification could generate additional money for educators.

“We’re allowed to pay teachers according to different things within the law, but it doesn’t seem like we latch onto some really creative ways to do that, and get that done,” says Ritz.

Ritz will be traveling to Washington D.C. in the near future in the hopes of helping to implement wiser standardized testing requirements, perhaps targeting student growth throughout the school year.

She says her offices are looking to streamline the assessment system at the state level.