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Jeb Bush Ally Tony Bennett is Florida's New Education Commissioner

Ellie Moxley
StateImpact Indiana

Citing his experience at many levels of education and his work on new, national Common Core standards, the State Board of Education unanimously chose Tony Bennett as Florida's next education commissioner.

Board members said there will be no learning curve for Bennett when he takes over in Florida.

"I think Tony's experience in being a teacher, a superintendent, a coach and a statewide elected leader brought a lot more real-time, real recent experience in terms of where we need to get to," said board member Kathleen Shanahan.

Bennett lost his reelection bid to remain Indiana's superintendent last month. Teachers opposed him for pushing test score-based evaluations, paying teachers based on those evaluations and other policies. Conservative voters opposed Common Core, which they believe will reduce local authority over education.

Those are policies Florida has already approved, and Bennett said he is a big believer in the Florida model.

Bennett is a founding member of Chief for Change, an eduction group affiliated with the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Bennett is close with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who pioneered many of the policies Bennett supports and pushed for in Indiana.

"I think we have a great opportunity to capture Florida's moment," Bennett said, "to continue to get the results you've gotten and to continue to be the example for the rest of the country."

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