By Steve Gunn
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, a respected leader in the national education reform movement, was defeated Tuesday in his bid for a second term by a former local teachers union official.
Democrat Glenda Ritz was outpacing Bennett 52-48 percent with 85 percent of statewide precincts reporting, according to WTHR-TV. The vote spread was enough for the media to project Ritz the winner of the four-year term.
Bennett gained national attention over the past four years by working with state officials to expand Indiana’s private school voucher program, install new evaluation systems for teachers and schools, limit teachers union collective bargaining privileges, expand the number of charter schools, take over chronically failing schools, and implement many other reforms.
His re-election bid was viewed by some throughout the nation as a referendum on aggressive education reform policies.