Public statement on the resignation of Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett

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Dr. Tony Bennett did some good work in Indiana and more recently in Florida to advance key K-12 education reforms. Some of these reforms were very important, including expanding parental choice options.

Pioneer Institute believes that public accountability for school performance is an integral part of state K-12 education reform efforts. Without strong accountability, it becomes very difficult to undertake hard reforms like raising the academic expectations we have for our children and providing high quality school options such as private school choice, public charter schools, and digital learning.

But all public leadership and especially public educational leadership must teach by example and uphold the public trust by setting the very highest standards of conduct. In regards to schooling and our children, the public trust is a sacred trust, which citizens, taxpayers, parents, and students should demand from their public officials. It’s clear that Dr. Bennett failed to provide the kind of honesty, accountability, and public integrity needed to inspire Indiana’s and Florida’s parents and teachers to have confidence in his educational leadership.

We support Dr. Bennett’s decision to resign and hope that, going forward, Indiana and Florida will continue to strengthen their school accountability systems to ensure public transparency and integrity.

Follow me on twitter at @jimstergios, visit Pioneer’s website, or check out our education posts at the Rock The Schoolhouse blog.