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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gerard Robinson, school choice hero



Even as Florida education commissioner-select Gerard Robinson works to define school choice as more than vouchers and charters, a group dedicated to the promulgation of vouchers and tax credit scholarships is cheering Robinson as its champion.

The American Federation for Children has named Robinson its June Champion for School Choice, enthusiastically calling him Dr. Robinson even though he has not completed his doctorate. The group recognizes him for his desire to give the children of Florida the same opportunities he fought to give Virginia youngsters.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has said Robinson helped to expand virtual and charter school options for students, among other initiatives, during his short tenure with the state.

Read on for the group's full rave:

"Some careers are so decorated that it seems difficult to heap more accolades on someone who has already done so much. But Gerard Robinson has never been one to rest on his laurels — he’s always been about giving his all to help kids get a better education. And while his philosophy won’t change, his address will, after Robinson — the former president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and a staunch school choice proponent for decades—was on June 21 named the new Florida Commissioner of Education.

"Though he’s been Virginia’s Secretary of Education since early last year, he’ll be leaving the Old Dominion to take over the educational duties in one of the nation’s most populous states. Robinson was unanimously voted into his new role by the Florida Board of Education, and he will also head south with the blessing of Gov. Rick Scott. There, he’s poised to work with the governor to continue and expand Florida's tradition as one of America’s leading education reform hotspots (pun somewhat intended), building on the foundation that already exists in the state with the largest number of school choice recipients in the country.

"And Robinson has never been shy about his convictions — during the interview process, he made clear that he will stay committed to school choice as a part of his reform portfolio if given the position in Florida. It’s no surprise Robinson cares about the plight of low-income kids; after all, he was the first in his family to go to college, and had it not been for the educational options he was afforded, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

"For his commitment to helping those less fortunate, his willingness to take on tough challenges, and his unwavering commitment to giving kids in Florida the same opportunities he fought to give them in Virginia, the American Federation for Children is proud to name newly-minted Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson as a Champion for School Choice."

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:36pm]


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