In education circles, Tony Bennett is widely known as a hard-charging Republican reformer associated with Jeb Bush's prescriptions for fixing public schools: charter schools, private school vouchers, tying teacher pay to student test scores and grading schools on a A through F scale.
Bennett resigned from his post as Florida's education chief this morning when a controversy over the last of those things — the school grades — caught up with him.
The situation was related to his previous job in Indiana, where he was superintendent of schools until early this year. On Monday, the Associated Press showing Bennett and his staff in Indiana discussing how to change the state's grading formula to boost the grade of an Indianapolis charter school run by .
In a press conference this morning in Tallahassee, Bennett called the charges "malicious" and "unfounded." But he said he did not want to become a distraction in Florida. "Every minute we spend defending the credibility of your commissioner because of what's said 800 miles away," Bennett said, "is a minute we waste that we should have been thinking about educating children in Florida."