Bennett Resigns, Maintains Innocence

1 Aug

As expected, Florida’s Education Commissioner Tony Bennett resigned today.  “I asked Governor Scott to accept my resignation and he did” Bennett stated during a press conference.  He called reports regarding the e-mail scandal malicious and unfounded.  

As previously reported here, Bennett became the subject of national controversy when e-mails were released by the Associated Press showing that he demanded that the grade for Christel House Charter School be changed.  Many have suggested that Bennett’s motivation for pushing for the change in grades was $130,000 in campaign contributions he received from entities associated with Christel House.  Bennett maintains that the system he devised created a “statistical anomaly” for schools that were new or expanding.  In one e-mail, Bennett asked “how many new (opened in the last three years) high schools do we have?” 

Media coverage of the scandal has focused largely on Bennett’s bold assertion that ” . . . anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”  The Indianapolis Star reported today that at least two Indiana schools, both in Indianapolis, could have been spared a state takeover if Bennett had applied the same criteria to them.  Bennett supporters counter that the change in formula was needed to account for the fact that the schools were new.

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