McCormick Not Seeking Re-Election In 2020
By James Polston
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick said she will not seek re-election in 2020.
While McCormick declared that student learning, school improvement and operational effectiveness will be her office’s priorities in 2019, it was her surprise announcement that dominated Monday’s media availability.
“I still have a passion for kids. My team has a passion for kids. We can get things done for kids,” McCormick said. “But when the governance structure is becoming a problem for kids, that’s not why I intended to get into office.”
One source of McCormick’s frustration is the 2017 decision to make the state superintendent an appointed position rather than an elected one starting in 2025.
She said some are talking about moving that up to 2021, and the constant discussion on the topic is causing concern among educators and distracting her from helping students.
“As a parent, I would not be happy if my state superintendent were spending time on noise, and that’s simply what this has become,” McCormick said. “For that conversation to keep coming up and suck all of our energies out, to me, I’m growing very weary of that. The best way I can help shut that down is to let people know I’m not running again.”
McCormick said she hopes there are fewer distractions now that she has gone public with her plans for 2020.
“A second term is not on my radar,” she said. “So I would hope that those who continue to keep the noise going for their sake of political reasons would tone things down.”
The state superintendent also said the public deserves a voice in public education.
“If it’s not in my office, it should at least be looked at from the state board or other ends where citizens have a voice in public education,” McCormick said.
The State Board of Education is also appointed.
While McCormick said her family knew of her decision to not seek re-election, she didn’t speak with Gov. Eric Holcomb until after her announcement.
Holcomb’s office released a statement following the meeting that was a mix of both praise for her service and uncertainty about the superintendent’s remaining time in office.
“I reminded her that we have more time left in this term than we’ve been here, and there’s still plenty to be accomplished. Dr. McCormick has given me a lot to digest as I dig into her legislative priorities,” Holcomb said in the statement. “I thanked her and told her today I appreciate and respect her lifetime devotion to children and education, and that we’ll take the steps necessary to ensure Indiana has the best team working together to provide the highest quality education for children.”
McCormick said she will continue to focus on her agenda even though the next two years will be her last at the Indiana Department of Education.
“We got a lot of work to do, and I promise you we are going to get a lot of impressive work done.”
FOOTNOTE: James Polston is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.