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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

It's official: Tony Bennett resigns as Florida education commissioner



At just after 11 a.m. Thursday, Tony Bennett announced he would resign immediately as Florida's fifth education commissioner in the past 31 months.

Bennett said the decision was "mine and mine alone," made to end the distractions created by accusations that he inappropriately changed the accountability grade of an Indiana charter school with political ties. He called the reports "malicious" but said,"I don't think the children of Florida, the State Board of Education or our governor deserve me constantly having to deal with this while commissioner."

He has recommended that Pam Stewart, who was interim commissioner before he took over, to lead the department again.

Bennett said he expected Stewart  would "make sure 2013-14 is a Common Core implementation year ... She'll take it to the next level." Bennett was poised to decide whether the state will remain with the PARCC testing consortium or change assessments, amid pressure from lawmakers, but had not walked away from the new standards.

Bennett also said he did not know whether two of his top transplanted lieutenants, Dale Chu and Will Krebs, or others who also came along, will remain once he departs. He called Krebs and Chu two of the most talented education people in United State, adding, "This department would do well if they stay and continue their work."

Follow our developing story for more details.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 11:56am]


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