Florida education chief changed Indiana grading formula to benefit charter school

WDW – FL reported that Florida Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett recently recommended “the continuation of the transition safety net provision that prevents schools from dropping more than one letter grade in a given year.” It appears changing school grades is part of Commissioner Bennett’s modus operandi.

The Associated Press reported, “Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold “failing” schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature “A-F” school grading system to improve the school’s marks.”

In one email, Bennett wrote, “They need to understand that anything less than an ‘A’ for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”

In another, he wrote, “This will be a HUGE problem for us.”

The charter school’s founder, Christel DeHaan, has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett, according to the AP. DeHaan told the AP that she never asked for any special treatment.

Bennett told the Times/Herald Monday that Christel House was among the top-performing charter schools in Indiana. If it hadn’t earned an A, that meant something was wrong with the entire grading system, he said.

“It had nothing to do with politics,” he said.


Florida’s “padded” school grades show “unprecedented declines”

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  1. […] Florida has faced multiple public education scandals recently. From revelations about bias in Florida Department of Education textbooks in Brevard and Sarasota County District schools to the resignation of the Florida Commissioner of Education, Tony Bennett. […]

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