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
  • GN140719 fairfield transfer families 02 School transfer rules offers families flexibility When it came time to choose which local school district the Howell children would attend, their parents had a decision to make.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140802 first friday sandblast 06 FIRST FRIDAYS: Volleyball tourney, hoops events take center stage GOSHEN — Lori Shreiner and Kim Gallagher sat in lawn chairs, relaxing after winning their first round of competition in First Fridays SandBlast in downtown Goshen.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140730 city council summit 01 Proposed annexation vote set for Tuesday GOSHEN — It may seem like jumping the gun, but there’s a method to their madness.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140801 Cellular Connection backpack giveaway 011.jpg For free school supplies, head to The Cellular Connection GOSHEN — Residents in Goshen are about to benefit from a national backpack giveaway campaign. The Cellular Connection, the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the United States, in a joint effort with its customers, will be donating 100,000

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140801 jeffery hunt Warsaw man gets 120 years for home invasion

    GOSHEN — An elderly New Paris couple who were victims of a violent home invasion last fall recounted that frightening night during one of their attackers’ sentencing hearing.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140801 eby ford image 02 Eby Ford renovates showroom and more GOSHEN — The remodeled and expanded Eby Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership was celebrated Thursday night during an open house and ribbon cutting. “Without our awesome customers, we wouldn’t be here,” said owner Todd Eby as he addressed the crowd of fr

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wawasee Conservancy map Conservancy buys wetlands property at Syracuse Lake SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has purchased 44 1/2 acres of property along the southeast corner of Syracuse Lake. It is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, East Shore Drive and Cornelius Road and includes the Bonar Lake wetlands

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140731 Habitat auction2.jpg Friday auction to benefit Habitat SHIPSHEWANA — On Friday, LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity will host its annual auction at Shipshewana Auction Barn.The auction begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes, among many other items, a five-piece bedroom suite, a white oak trestle table and a d

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City heads seek more employees GOSHEN — Like the 2014 budget, the city of Goshen’s proposed 2015 budget will include a number of requests for new personnel as department heads fight to maintain services amidst growing responsibilities and shrinking coffers.The Goshen City Council

    July 31, 2014

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

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction