Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

December 13, 2012

Tony Bennett named to top Florida schools’ post

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s top schools official, defeated in his bid for re-election here, is headed to Florida to become that state’s education commissioner.

Florida’s State Board of Education announced the decision Thursday, after board members unanimously voted to hire Bennett to oversee the state’s public schools and colleges as the Florida Commissioner of Education.

He was chosen from among three finalists who were interviewed, including Murray State University President Randy Dunn and a nationally known education consultant, Charles Hokanson Jr.

Bennett, 52, a Republican who gained a national reputation for implementing sweeping education reforms in Indiana’s K-12 schools, was turned out of office in Indiana after voters picked a political newcomer, Democrat Glenda Ritz, to become Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

The Florida post, unlike Bennett’s position in Indiana, is an appointed job.

Florida board members said they picked Bennett because of his experience in efforts they’re attempting to duplicate in Florida, including new academic assessments of student learning and a push to adopt Common Core academic standards.

“I think his ability to be up to speed quickly will be very important for the state of Florida,” board member John Padget told the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

During Bennett’s term in office, the Indiana legislature passed several key education laws modeled on Florida laws that created vouchers for private schools and an A to F grading system for schools and districts based in large part on student test scores.

In a statement released Thursday, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, praised Bennett for his work in Indiana. “Tony has a great record of achievement in Indiana and I am confident he will be a tireless advocate for Florida’s students,” Scott said.

Some Florida parents’ groups, including the Florida PTA, had opposed Bennett and the two other finalists selected by the board. In a letter sent to Scott on Tuesday, the leaders of nine parents’ groups said Bennett and the two other finalists “apparently endorse an extreme reform agenda that does not represent our vision of public education.”

The Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, issued a statement after the board’s decision, criticizing Bennett’s appointment. The statement said union leaders were “disappointed and disheartened” by his selection.

Bennett came under harsh criticism from the teachers’ unions in Indiana which accused him of unfairly criticizing teachers and undermining teacher morale. Ritz, in her successful campaign against Bennett, accused him of aggressively implementing changes in K-12 schools that weren’t intended by lawmakers.

But he was praised by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Gov. Mitch Daniels, who championed the reforms that Bennett oversaw. Florida state board member Kathleen Shanahan told the Orlando Sentinel that she liked that Bennett had worked in public schools and had “real time, real recent” experience running a state system. The newspaper reported that Bennett will likely start work in mid-January, after his term in Indiana ends.

According to the newspaper, Bennett’s predecessor was making $275,000 when he resigned in July. His salary in Indiana was $85,000 a year.

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140723 fair senior day 02 4-H FAIR: Senior citizens enjoy day despite temps GOSHEN — It was a warm day Tuesday, but that didn’t stop hundreds of senior citizens from stopping by for a snack and a walk through the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Middlebury council OKs payment for sewage plant work MIDDLEBURY — On Monday, the Middlebury Town Council approved a pay application of $426,117 for Fetters Construction Co. of Auburn for Contract A of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Project in Middlebury. According to Town Manager Mark Sale

    July 23, 2014

  • Harness Racing Crowd Harness racing a fan favorite at 4-H Fair GOSHEN — There is no question about the popularity of the three-day harness racing program at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 fair shuffle board 02 4-H Fair: Shuffleboard tourney a source of fun GOSHEN — A little friendly banter could be heard among the shuffleboard players as they competed at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charlotte.jpg SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Elkhart County looking for loving, permanent homes. This month the HSEC has a Hot Dogs and Cool Cats special. Adopt in July and receive 25 percent off your adoption fee for dogs and cats under 5 years old or 50 percent off those 5-years-old or better.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 Sanders fair faces FAIR FACES: Austin Sanders enjoys success, versatility as 10-year 4-Her

    It’s tough to say in which Elkhart County 4-H Fair livestock barn you’re most likely to find 10-year 4-H member Austin Sanders.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Goshen City Hall GOSHEN BOARD OF WORKS: Gravel lot approved for Forest River

    GOSHEN — The employee parking areas for a new manufacturing facility within the Century Drive Industrial Park on Goshen’s south side will be allowed to remain unpaved, though that doesn’t mean the city has to like it.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140722 fair food drive 03 Fair's food drive falls short of world record, but is still a success

    For a 24-hour period, the Elkhart County 4-H Fair “All IN” food drive committee attempted a “Guinness Book of World Records” for the largest single-day food drive. Their goal: 560,000 pounds of food collected from 1 p.m. Sunday to 1 p.m. Monday.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140722 fair special needs awareness 02 Many enjoy Disabilities Awareness Day at the fair

    Barry Malone stepped off the Orient Express roller coaster ride, grinning. “That I was fun. I liked that,” Malone said with a laugh. “That was a good ride, too.” Malone attended the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Monday and participated in the Disabilities Awareness Day activities and events at Heritage Park, just inside the main gate.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City