Florida’s new education commissioner has been on the job for about a week and is already making the rounds to state lawmakers and reporters. Bennett says he’s ready to hit the road and make the rounds to schools to learn more about the education system that he now leads.
Tony Bennett comes from an elected post in Indiana where he implemented a school-reform agenda that includes things like establishing teacher merit pay and changing the way teachers are evaluated, similar to Florida’s efforts. Along the way, he angered teachers and their unions and in November, ultimately lost his re-election bid. But Bennett says he didn’t lose his passion for reform.
“We have not been able to convey that message in a way that compels the middle class to action because most of the people in the middle class think that they’re schools are operating pretty well," he said.
Bennett arrives in Florida as the state tries to navigate a series of changes in education, including a move away from the state’s Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test an a transition to national education standards. You can hear more from Florida’s New Education Commissioner this Thursday on “It’s About Florida.”