On The Florida Roundup: Our state's leadership goes through more upheaval, this time with the resignation of Education Commissioner Tony Bennett. He will be the fifth education head (including interims) to depart in the 31 months since Governor Rick Scott took office.
Why has there been so much turnover? What impact does the latest change have on students and teachers?
Plus: the Hialeah shooting drew national attention again to gun deaths in our state. We look at what factors - or at least correlations - can be gleaned about violence and gun ownership.
For the third time in Gov. Rick Scott's two-and-a-half years as governor, there is no permanent leader in place for the Department of Education.
Departures are nothing new for the Scott administration. At least 11 department heads during Scott's term have resigned; the governor is also on his third chief of staff and is still looking for a replacement for Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.