- Tony Bennett begins his new job as Florida's education commissioner today, and while his reputation as a caustic, union-battling advocate of the type of conservative policies favored by friend and supporter Jeb Bush didn't sit well with voters in Indiana, they're likely to go over better in the Sunshine State.
- Many of the changes Bennett fought for in Indiana have already been adopted in Florida, where former Gov. Bush continues to influence education policy with his Foundation for Florida's Future, and he won't have to answer to voters in his new position since the state's governor-appointed State Board of Education handles the hiring and firing of education commissioners.
- Indiana allies like House Education Chairman Bob Behning say Bennett's opponents distorted his image, but Indiana Federation of Teachers President Rick Muir claims Bennett "devastated public education" by leading efforts to limit teachers' collective bargaining rights, bringing in for-profit companies to manage failing schools and favoring private and parochial schools with vouchers.
From the article:
As schools chief in Indiana, Florida's new education commissioner had a reputation as a hard-charging, caustic, union-battling advocate for the kind of conservative policies pushed by former Sunshine State Gov. Jeb Bush - a friend and supporter of the Republican. Tony Bennett's style didn't sit well with Indiana voters. In November, they voted him out of office after one term in favor of school librarian Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, while electing another Republican governor and backing Mitt Romney in the presidential race. ...