Tony Bennett resigned from his position as Florida’s Education Commissioner Thursday amid an Associated Press report that revealed he had changed the grade of Christel House, a charter school run by major Republican donor Christel DeHaan, while in Indiana. In resigning, he denied any wrongdoing.
Eastern Pulaski School Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman said it was a sad day for education and for Bennett and his family.
“It’s a very sad day educationally when the chief educational officer gets involved in the political arena and it basically cost him his job,” stated Klitzman. “Education has its goals and aspirations and politics has a purpose and a role. They’re not together and I think that why in recent years in Indiana, and continually I might add, we’re going down that path that I think is the wrong path for student learning and what our mission is in education.”
Oregon-Davis Interim Superintendent Greg Briles offered this statement:
“I am concerned that the system his administration has put into place for Indiana schools is flawed and needs an overhaul,” stated Briles. “I am confident that the current administration will take a serious look at the A-F system and make the changes necessary for Indiana schools to hold their heads high. Our communities have great parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members that want the schools they represent treated fairly and given the respect they deserve for the efforts being put forth by everyone.”
Republican Governor Mike Pence has urged the Indiana Department of Education to complete a thorough and timely review of the questions surrounding the 2011-12 A-F letter grades and report its findings at the next State Board of Education meeting in August.