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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Tony Bennett to resign as Florida education commissioner



Our sister blog the Buzz reports:

Tony Bennett is expected to resign Thursday as Florida education commissioner following two days of raging controversy over a school grading controversy in his home state of Indiana.

Bennett, who came to Florida from the Hoosier State last January, has faced mounting calls for his resignation in the wake of revelations, first reported by The Associated Press, that he interceded on behalf of an Indiana charter school run by a prominent Republican Party donor.  His resignation will be a major setback for Gov. Rick Scott and state education leaders, who are working to overhaul Florida's system of school accountability and assessment in compliance with the national Common Core standards.

Bennett came to the job in January after losing his reelection bid as Indiana superintendent of schools. He was the third permanent commissioner in Scott's 31-month tenure, following Eric Smith (who Scott pushed out) and Gerard Robinson (who resigned under pressure). Two interim commissioners -- John Winn and Pam Stewart -- also have run the department under Scott.

The past two times Florida has searched for a commissioner to run what many consider one of the nation's leading education "reform" and accountability states, the pickings have been slim. Bennett only applied after losing. Many experts have suggested that stability is key.

Stay tuned for more news as it arises.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 9:08am]


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