education

Politics
5:48 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Florida's Education Chief Resigns Over Grading Scandal

Florida's former Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett.
Florida Department of Education

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:01 pm

In education circles, Tony Bennett is widely known as a hard-charging Republican reformer associated with Jeb Bush's prescriptions for fixing public schools: charter schools, private school vouchers, tying teacher pay to student test scores and grading schools on a A through F scale.

Bennett resigned from his post as Florida's education chief this morning when a controversy over the last of those things — the school grades — caught up with him.

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Politics
12:32 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett Resigns

Tony Bennett

Update 2:24 p.m.: Florida is looking for a new education commissioner. Tony Bennett resigned today – effective immediately – after just six months on the job.

Allegations surfaced this week that Bennett changed the school grading system in Indiana to benefit a campaign contributor while he served as that state's elected superintendent.

Bennett said the allegations were unfounded, but he decided to step down because they had become a distraction.

Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg says Bennett did the right thing.

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Politics
11:33 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Archive: A Conversation With Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett

NEW EDUCATION COMMISSIONER: Tony Bennett was Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana for one term. He lost his re-election bid in November 2012, and was appointed Florida's schools chief by Gov. Rick Scott.
Credit Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Editor's Note:   Shortly after Tony Bennett began as the state's Education Commissioner last December, he sat down with WLRN's former StateImpact reporter Sarah Gonzalez.  They talked about his time as head of Indiana's school system and what plans he had for Florida's.  

Tony Bennett drove from Indiana over the weekend to start his first day as schools chief in Florida on Monday.

Last month the State Board of Education hired Bennett, a Republican who served as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction for one term.

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Politics
11:24 am
Thu August 1, 2013

The School At The Heart Of Bennett Controversy: The Philanthropy And Philosophy Of Christel DeHaan

Christel DeHaan
Credit Matt Detrich / Indianapolis Star

Editor's Note:  On Monday, the Associated Press published emails from 2012 showing former Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett and his staff in Indiana discussing how to change that state's grading formula to boost the grade of an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor.

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Politics
11:12 am
Thu August 1, 2013

A Look At The Indiana Charter School At The Center Of Tony Bennett's Resignation

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 10:42 am

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is expected to resign today after the Associated Press published emails this week showing he and staff worked to change the state’s grading system in 2012, which boosted a charter school’s grade.

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Schools
3:34 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Florida's School Grading Formula Allows Districts To Check State's Work

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 2:31 pm

The big news out of Indiana yesterday was that in 2012 then-state superintendent Tony Bennett and staff discussed boosting the grade of a charter school.

Bennett now leads Florida schools and defended the change. The school, Christel House Academy, initially earned a C, but Bennett said Christel House performed as well as other A-rated charter schools.

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Politics
8:20 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Education Groups Come To Tony Bennett's Defense

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 3:15 pm

The Foundation for Florida’s Future and Michael Petrilli, writing at The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, are defending Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett’s decision to change Indiana’s school grading formula while leading Hoosier State schools in 2012.

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Schools
7:24 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Why School Grades In Florida Are Full Of Controversy

Florida legislators recently enacted what they call a safety net that ensures no school's performance drops more than one letter under the state's grading system. But despite students' academic improvement, there are a record number of F-rated schools this year.

An "A" was always the gold standard.  Every student knows that the better the grade, the greater the reward, whether the reward is a gold star, a trophy or a scholarship.

It’s no different for schools.  Since 1999, Florida schools have worked to measure student learning gains and to objectively measure teacher and school performance.  An "A" school brings recognition, prestige and financial gain.

But measuring school accountability has become more difficult than anyone thought it would be.  And, as recent legislative decisions show, may carry huge political consequences.

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Standards
9:12 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Rubio Opposes Florida's Common Education Standards

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is the highest-profile Florida Republican to oppose Common Core State Standards.
Credit JIM LO SCALZO / EPA/LANDOV

Add U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to those opposing shared education standards fully adopted by Florida and 44 other states.

The standards, known as Common Core, have been under fire from those on the political right and left. Conservatives argue the federal government coerced states with money to adopt the standards, undermining local control of education. Those on the left protest increased testing.

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Aerospace
12:02 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

What Happens When Science Teachers Go To A Rocket Launch

Lockheed Martin-NSTA Teacher Fellows Mary Maddox and Steve Kirsche watch the MUOS-2 satellite launch.
Courtesy Lockheed Martin

Lauren Case already knows what she’s going to say on the first day of school when her students ask what she did over summer break:

“I saw a rocket launch; it was awesome. You want to go too? Maybe you should become an engineer,” says Case, a 10th grade science teacher at South Fork High School in Stuart, Fla.

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Teaching
8:08 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Classroom Contemplations: What Silicon Valley Tells Us About Evaluating Performance

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 12:00 pm

Are search engines really more complicated than children?

That question occurred to me last week when the annual earnings report for Yahoo! came out and it became clear that CEOs are cut a lot more slack than teachers are.

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Standards
1:25 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Common Core Opponents Respond To Former Florida GOP Chairmen

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:12 am

Earlier this week we published an email sent to Florida Republicans urging their support for Common Core State Standards fully adopted by Florida and 44 other states. The letter was signed by five former Republican Party of Florida chairmen, including American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas.

Common Core opponents have written a rebuttal.

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School Grades
11:20 am
Fri July 26, 2013

2012-2013 Florida Elementary And Middle School Grades

The State Board of Education changed state rules so that no school could lose more than one letter grade in 2012-2013.
Credit MARSMET TALLAHASSEE

The Florida Department of Education released 2013 elementary and middle school grades, part of the state’s school accountability system.

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Technology
11:19 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Florida Matters -- How Schools Are Preparing For New Technology Requirements

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 12:15 pm

Florida schools are gearing up for new education standards and accompanying online testing. Schools must also prepare to deliver half of all classroom instruction digitally by 2015.

So what will this mean for students, teachers and schools? It’s the subject of this week’s Florida Matters on WUSF radio.

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Community Contributor
7:44 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Is the Millennial Generation Selfish or Selfless?

The Class of 2013 faces an increasingly competitive and insecure job market, but that doesn't dampen their optimism.

Gabriella Nuňez graduated near the top of her high school class. Her resume rivals that of many college graduates.  She juggled rigorous courses with part-time work, a myriad of extracurricular activities and a thousand hours of community service.  She held various leadership positions ranging from class president to design editor of her newspaper and she began her college career this summer with over 24 college credits under her belt.

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