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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

As Florida education commissioner search continues, one drops out

We had expected to be sitting at the Tampa Airport Marriott right now, listening to candidates trying to sell themselves to the Florida Board of Education as the state's next education commissioner.

Instead, we're rustling the bushes, trying to figure out why Florida, an acknowledged national leader in ed reform, hasn't lured the big dogs to the show. State Board members have put on a game face -- "I'm highly confident that we will reach the right result," member John Padget told the Gradebook -- but they, too, are growing frustrated at the lack of response.

Is it Gov. Rick Scott's fault? While some say yes, longtime Florida educator Bill Montford, a Democratic state senator who heads the Florida superintendents association, says that's a stretch. High profile education leaders who seek that type of power and influence understand the game, Montford said, including the politics that must be played at such a level.

Plus, he continued, the job carries so many challenges, from multiple bosses and constant demands to limited resources and increasing needs, that it's not necessarily going to be a big draw.

"I don't think Rick Scott being governor is going to keep good, qualified people from applying," Montford said.

 At least one person who initially sought the job has decided to bow out. A longshot at best, Manatee County teacher Edward Hashey Jr. withdrew his name from the field over the weekend. The candidate list now stands at 18, with no other late arriving resumes received by the Department of Education.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 9:15am]


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