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SMC hosts dialogue on education in Indiana

Caroline Stickell | Monday, November 11, 2013

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said today’s schools need to give students a sense of “ownership in their own learning” to ensure future success during a discussion Monday night sponsored by the Saint Mary’s Education Department and the Cross Currents College Speaker Series.

Ritz joined “Indianapolis Star” political columnist Matthew Tully in a presentation on the current state of education titled “The Dialogue on Education in Indiana,” focusing on their experiences in the Indiana public school system and the improvements that could be made.

Ritz, who began her education career in 1978 and was elected to her current position in 2012, said educational support is crucial both for the individual students and the schools .

“All students need caring adults and advocates in their lives,” Ritz said.

Tully, who has written extensively on the state of public schools, said support for local schools needs to come from the local community.

“There is a ton of positive energy that needs to be harnessed in our local schools,” Tully said.

He said he has witnessed such positive community involvement while observing local schools.

 “Students are performing better when they know they have adults advocating for them, adults who are both inside and outside the school building,” Tully said.

Ritz and Tully also discussed the changing landscape of education, particularly secondary education and the need to incorporate “career tech” education. Ritz said creativity and problem solving are crucial elements in a school setting.

“Students are craving relevance,d Ritz said. “They want to know that what they are learning now will help them achieve their dreams and goals for the future.wRitz said she hopes to see school’s curriculums becoming more individualized.

“The best schools have no one path for all students,, Ritz said. “We need to give students a sense of ownership in their own learning – kids need to have a say in their education.” At the end of the discussion, Ritz saiz the role of schools needs to go past the test scores.

“When it’s all about the assessment, the system must change,, she saiz. “Schools are also responsible for instilling values into students and teaching them to be good citizens.”

Contact Caroline Stickell at cstick01@saintmarys.edu