Tony Bennett to resign

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

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

Bennett is expected to hold a news conference in Tallahassee late Thursday morning to make the announcement.

Bennett, who came to Florida from the Hoosier State in 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 re-election bid as Indiana superintendent of schools. He was the third permanent commissioner in Scott’ 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 re-election.

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BY reimaginED staff