Broward News

Florida Education Commissioner to Resign UPDATED

UPDATE: Bennett has officially resigned. See his press conference statement below

Tony Bennett, Florida's Education Commissioner, will resign after allegations of his changing a charter school's grade in Indiana to benefit a big money bags Republican donor cropped up earlier this week.

The news of his resignation comes a day after Gov. Rick Scott told a local television station that Bennett "is doing a great job."

Maybe Scott meant the beloved American-Italian singer, Tony Bennett?

According to the Associated Press, a Florida education official told them of Bennett's coming resignation on condition of anonymity.

A formal announcement is expected soon.

The official did confirm that the resignation is directly a result of the scandal revealed by the AP earlier this week, after the news organization obtained emails that revealed that Bennett's education team in Indiana changed the grade of a charter school run by GOP donor Christel DeHaan from a "C" to an "A."

Bennett defended his actions and blamed the grading system, saying the system's calculations were unfair to the schools and that's why he changed the grade, and the fact that the person that runs the schools is a big time influential political donor was just a mere coincidence.

Even so, all them donations did little, and Bennett lost his Indiana re-election bid in November.

But because Scott is such a great job creator, just a month later, Bennett was given the same job here in Florida, where accountability is more of a suggestion than an actual rule.

UPDATE: From Bennett's Thursday morning press conference announcing his resignation:

"It's not fair to the children of Florida that I continue as commissioner and deal with the distraction. I end my tenure with my head held high."

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph