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Indiana's Big Government governor

Let Gov. Mike Pence explain why Indiana needs a new agency:

"The Center for Education and Career Innovation will strive to improve coordination between pertinent agency partners and industry voices to ensure a world-class education for students and to better prepare adults to be successful in their chosen career pathway that also meets industry demands. By creating a focal point for bringing together and deploying critical resources, the agency will deliver real change in Indiana, benefitting Hoosier families, employers and taxpayers, and, ultimately, impacting every Hoosier across the state."

"The agency will proactively engage and collaborate with a number of valuable partners in state government including the Department of Education, the Indiana Charter School Board, the Department of Workforce Development, the Commission for Higher Education, and the Office of State-Based Initiatives. The Indiana Career Council, the Indiana Works Councils, the Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education, though functioning independently, will exist as part of the new agency.

A partner with the Indiana Department of Education? Not according to state Superintendent Glenda Ritz's spokesman:

"Partnerships require communication. Unfortunately, Superintendent Ritz learned about the creation of this new agency through news reports, rather than from Governor Pence. Superintendent Ritz has met with the Governor on many occasions, including as recently as two days ago. However, neither he, nor his office, mentioned the creation of this new agency until this morning."

Friday is the preferred day of the week for politicians to drop an announcement they hope will be overlooked. The start of the weekend means most people won't be minding the news. Could it be that the governor hopes Indiana voters won't recognize the end run he's making around Ritz and the Indiana Department of Education?

Those who supported Pence for his fiscal conservatism should ask how it's fiscally responsible to operate two departments of education. Those who supported Glenda Ritz should ask why the governor has voided their votes.

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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