Florida Democrats amp up effort to return to elected education commissioner
Calls for Florida to return to an elected education commissioner came soon after Tony Bennett's hasty resignation from the post. The Broward Teachers Union started the discussion, followed soon after by two Miami Democratic lawmakers.
Now the state Democratic Party has launched an electronic petition pushing the idea, with the goal of getting at least 10,000 signatures in the first week. Its driving idea is that the voters should pick the state's education leader, and not Gov. Rick Scott, who's on his sixth commissioner (counting interims) in 31 months.
Here's the explanation from the party's email that began circulating today:
"When the truth came out about Tony Bennett rigging Indiana's school grades to benefit a political donor last year, Rick Scott was shaking in his boots. It left a lot of us wondering what has stopped Bennett from doing the same thing here in Florida.
"Education Commissioner is a vital position that needs to be filled by someone who is elected by the people - it is the office that oversees the quality of our children's education, after all. In the next week, we have set a goal of collecting 10,000 names from fellow Floridians to add to our grassroots petition. We must demand that this position is elected by the people of Florida, not handed out as a political favor.
"For far too long, Rick Scott has gotten away with giving his political cronies special favors, like fat tax breaks -- and shortchanging Floridians who depend on public schools. We need to ensure that Floridians get to elect the best quailified person to oversee our children’s education, not Rick Scott's partisan political ally."