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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Education commissioner Gerard Robinson resigns



This just in from the Florida Department of Education:

Tallahassee, Fla., July 31, 2012 – Florida Department of Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson submitted a letter of resignation today to Governor Rick Scott and State Board of Education Chair Kathleen Shanahan.

Commissioner Robinson has served as head of one of the country’s largest state school systems since August 2011. Under his leadership Florida’s school system has realized some major milestones, including raising achievement levels for the first time in a decade, obtaining a provisional flexibility waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – one of the first eleven states to receive notification, and earning national recognition for accomplishments from early childhood learning to the Florida College System.

“The board is extremely grateful for Gerard’s leadership this past year,” said State Board of Education Chair Kathleen Shanahan. “He has worked with the board as we have raised standards for our students and our schools. He is a leader who embodies and understands the importance of education reform. We wish him the best as he makes the decision that is best for his own young children.”

Chair Shanahan said that the board would be working closely with the Governor to identify a replacement. Commissioner Robinson’s resignation will be effective August 31. 

Robinson's letter to the governor is attached.

Scott issued the following statement on Robinson's decision: "I appreciate Gerard’s service to the state of Florida and his commitment to ensuring Florida’s students receive a first class education.  He has been a tireless advocate for creating quality learning opportunities for all of Florida’s students and he will certainly be missed. I wish Gerard the best and I know he will continue to make a positive impact on students and educators."

Robinson has been the subject of much criticism in recent months amid problems with FCAT scoring and school grading. But when rumors arose earlier in July that he might be on the way out, State Board members rejected that notion.

Board member John Padget told the Gradebook at the time, "I've appreciated Commissioner Robinson's reiteration of the state board's goals, the need to raise standards, and focused preparation for Common Core Standards in 2014-2015. He has explained what we are doing in a way that people understand.  He has reminded Floridians that the overused phase "teaching to the test" is both misleading and inaccurate.  Teachers teach an adopted curriculum; they don't ever know the test questions. The Commissioner has my full support."

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:45am]


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