TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite the announced resignation of Florida Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Tony Bennett today, former Governor Jeb Bush and the Foundation for Excellence in Education credited the commissioner’s reforms in education with making a marked improvement on student achievement that will have a lasting impact.
“Tony started every day with the focus of creating a system that would equip kids to achieve their God-given potential,” said Jeb Bush, governor of Florida from 1999-2007 and the chair of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Foundation for Florida’s Future. “Today, more Hoosier kids are graduating high school ready for college or a career and fewer are dropping out. Last year, the parents of nearly 10,000 children in low-income homes were able to select the school that best fit their son or daughter. Leadership is doing what is right, knowing the results will follow. The data is clear; thanks to Tony’s leadership children are better prepared for success.”
Patricia Levesque, chief executive officer for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national organization, and executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, also remarked on Bennett’s resignation.
“Tony has been a bold champion for students, and the bottom line is students are better off thanks to him,” said Levesque. “Under Commissioner Bennett’s leadership, Indiana graduation rates increased every year, while the number of students dropping out of school decreased by 48 percent. By the end of Tony’s time as Indiana’s chief, 81 percent of students were passing the state mathematics test. While in Florida, he led passionately and with integrity, putting Florida on a path that will guide the transition to higher standards. He is a good man and a good friend. Florida’s students will feel the loss of his leadership the most.”