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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Watch the Florida education commissioner candidates pitch



Four months after Gerard Robinson's abrupt resignation as Florida education commissioner, the state Board of Education is poised to name Robinson's successor this week. Before it can do the appointing, though, the board will do some listening.

Three finalists today will sit for 75 minutes each to present their cases for why they would be best for the job, and to answer board member questions. Former GW Bush education official Charles Hokanson Jr. goes first, followed by outgoing Indiana superintendent of public instruction Tony Bennett and then former Illinois state superintendent Randy Dunn, now president of Murray State University. (See resumes here.)

Bennett, who lost his reelection bid in November, is seen by many as the front runner because of his strong reputation in the education reform world and his close ties to former Florida governor Jeb Bush. His candidacy has prompted a backlash by some parent and activist groups that don't want Bennett in the office.

Want to see what kind of questions he gets asked, and how he answers? Curious how the other two candidates stack up? The Department of Education plans to webcast the interviews on its website beginning at 3 p.m.  

The board, which extended its application deadline by two months after failing to find qualified applicants in the first round, plans to make its choice on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 9:53am]


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