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Ritz supporters' 'subterranean' tactics

In a meeting with The Journal Gazette editorial board today, Gov. Mitch Daniels continued to insist voters' rejection of state Superintendent Tony Bennett was not a rejection of the aggressive education agenda they shared, but instead the result of underhanded campaign tactics.

"His reforms are my reforms," the governor said, insisting there is continued support for the changes.

Daniels blamed a "subterranean" social networking campaign for taking out Bennett, claiming that rumors were passed around the recent marching band state finals that the superintendent was going to zero out funding for fine arts.

He also suggested that conservatives opposed to the Common Core curriculum had a role in the defeat.

"Their concerns are not informed," Daniels said.

He said that he received a post-election call from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who expressed disappointment over the state superintendent's defeat.

Bennett will be quickly snapped up by another state, Daniels predicted.

Indeed, Florida officials seem to be interested.

Maybe the Sunshine State will have better luck hiring our top education official than it had hiring away our top corrections official.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at kfrancisco@jg.net.

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