We talked on Tuesday about a rather shocking scandal out of Indiana, where the former schools chief Tony Bennett allegedly manipulated state standards to boost a charter school operated by a major Republican donor – a donor who happened to contribute $130,000 to Bennett directly.
Bennett was rejected by Indiana voters last year – before anyone was aware of the scandal – and was recruited to join Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) team in Florida. But given the severity of the allegations, and the credibility of the evidence, it appears Bennett has no choice but to quit.
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 would 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.
Keep in mind, as the Miami Herald reported yesterday, Bennett was already in trouble in the Sunshine State, where influential superintendents and state Board of Education members “have raised questions about the validity of school grades.” This new allegations obviously didn’t help.
And when Florida’s Republican governor was asked yesterday whether he continues to support his heavily recruited education commissioner, Scott declined to answer, saying he had not yet read the AP article that broke the scandal.
The governor really didn’t need another top official in his administration to resign in disgrace a year ahead of his re-election bid, but it appears that’s what Scott has on his hands anyway.