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Indiana Democrats stare down education split as Ritz-Pence battles expose rift in party


INDIANAPOLIS — The ongoing battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence's staff and supporters have been a unifying force for most Democrats, but they have also exposed a sharp rift in the Democratic Party.

Democratic State Board of Education member Gordon Hendry wrote a letter to the editor last week accusing Ritz of using board meetings to create chaos. The Democratic Party quickly fired back with a letter from Democratic state lawmakers Tim Skinner and Terry Goodin in support of Ritz.

The vast majority of Democrats continue to support the state's teachers unions and public schools advocates, but a small and influential contingent argues they need to adopt changes pushed by Republicans.

Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott says his Democratic peers need to be more accepting of change.

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