Friday, August 2, 2013

Grading On A Curve — Ctd.

And he’s outta here…

Tony Bennett resigned Thursday as Florida education commissioner following two days of controversy over school grades in his home state of Indiana.

He made the announcement at a news conference in Tallahassee late Thursday morning.

“The decision to resign is mine and mine alone, because I believe that when this discussion turns to an adult, we lose the discussion about making life better for children,” Bennett said.

Coming to Florida from the Hoosier state last January, Bennett had 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. On Thursday, he called those reports “malicious and unfounded.”

Yes, of course he blames the media and politics.  No one ever admits to wrong-doing unless they’re in an orange jumpsuit flanked by an attorney.

The Florida Department of Education has had a revolving door of leaders during Scott’s 31 months in office. Including Bennett, there have been three different education commissions and two interim education commissioners.

Bennett, a nationally recognized education reformer, came on board after losing reelection in Indiana.

His tenure encountered some early bumps in June, when superintendents leaned on him to institute a “safety net” to prevent school grades from dropping dramatically. Bennett had some misgivings, but ultimately conceded.

There’s more security in being the head coach of the Dolphins.

The problem is that being Florida Commissioner of Education is seen as a political appointment, not administrative.  Which is ironic because most politicians — especially those on the right — all talk about leaving education up to local school boards.