Philip Gulley: Best in Class
Everyone should be a teacher for one year to know what ingratitude feels like.
As AP reporter Tom LoBianco churned out hit after hit, politicos quietly talked about how he was able to get so much dirt on Tony Bennett. But the blogosphere erupted with more pointed talk of foul play by the Glenda Ritz administration.
Inside Crooked Creek Elementary School’s cafeteria, Glenda Ritz wielded a scalpel, in-structing about 100 fourth-graders in the art of dissecting a spiny dogfish shark. The smell of the dead specimens, spread out on metal trays on top of blue table covers, filled the air. It was a lesson she had delivered—and a procedure she’d performed—more than a dozen times throughout her 33-year teaching career.
Florida likes the way Tony Bennett, Indiana’s uprooted Superintendent of Public Instruction, thinks: teacher evaluations based on student performance, schools receiving grades on the same scale used for their charges, and the headline-grabbing push for more charter education and voucher programs. The Sunshine State apparently longed for his leadership and initiative, offering him the reins to clean up its education system in the midst of his term as the Hoosier State’s public schools czar. The Floridian version of the role boasted a salary that tripled his own in Indiana.
Editor’s Note, Nov. 7, 2012: Despite outspending his opponent, Glenda Ritz, by a 10-to-1 margin, Tony Bennett was unseated as Indiana’s schools czar on Nov. 6. Here, our September 2011 feature profile on the man who catalyzed a lot of visceral responses—both for and against him