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Florida Education Chief Resigns

Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson is resigning just after a year on the job. Robinson’s abrupt departure comes as the department faces strong criticism over problems with the state’s school grading system and standardized testing program. Robinson, 44, was hired by the State Board of Education in June 2011, leaving his job as Virginia’s Secretary of Education. He quickly embarked on what he called a look, listen and learn tour throughout Florida.

“It was really to figure out, what are people doing on the ground level, what can I as commissioner at the state level with support of the board and the governor do to support our strategic initiative across the board, and third is to identify new ideas"

Robinson’s wife, a law professor at the University of Richmond, remained in Virginia with their two young daughters.  In his resignation letter to State Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan and Governor Rick Scott Tuesday, Robinson stated living far away from his family was too much of a challenge and he will resign effective August 31st.  Robinson’s tenure has been marked by glitches in the state’s school grading system and standardized test scoring.

Statement from Governor Rick Scott:

“I appreciate Gerard’s service to the state of Florida and his commitment to ensuring Florida’s students receive a first class education.  He has been a tireless advocate for creating quality learning opportunities for all of Florida’s students and he will certainly be missed. I wish Gerard the best and I know he will continue to make a positive impact on students and educators.”

Florida Department of Education:

July 31, 2012– Florida Department of Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson submitted a letter of resignation today to Governor Rick Scott and State Board of Education Chair Kathleen Shanahan.Commissioner Robinson has served as head of one of the country’s largest state school systems since August 2011. Under his leadership Florida’s school system has realized some major milestones, including raising achievement levels for the first time in a decade, obtaining a provisional flexibility waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – one of the first eleven states to receive notification, and earning national recognition for accomplishments from early childhood learning to the Florida College System. “The board is extremely grateful for Gerard’s leadership this past year,” said State Board of Education Chair Kathleen Shanahan. “He has worked with the board as we have raised standards for our students and our schools. He is a leader who embodies and understands the importance of education reform. We wish him the best as he makes the decision that is best for his own young children.” Chair Shanahan said that the board would be working closely with the Governor to identify a replacement. Commissioner Robinson’s resignation will be effective August 31.