Jeff Solochek has this in Gradebook:
Nine parent leaders representing advocacy organizations across Florida sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott today urging him to reject all three of the finalists for the education commissioner job. The group appeals to the governor’s recent attempts to build relationships with parents and other education stakeholders, saying this is a chance for him to show he is concerned and was listening.
“We are confident that you have had far too many conversations with the parents and teachers of Florida to ignore the fact that Tony Bennett, Charles Hokansan and Randy Dunn apparently endorse an extreme reform agenda that does not represent our vision of public education,” the group wrote. “We will not be silent as our state Board of Education, who serves at your pleasure, considers candidates who are a comfortable fit for them, but a poor choice for the 2.74 million public school children who will bear the brunt of this decision. We strongly urge you to convince the Board of Education to reject these last-minute political applicants, who are not the product of a thoughtful search independent of ideology.”
Listening to the members of the state board during today’s interviews provided a stark reminder for Floridians just how detached and rigid they are. Roberto Martinez – whom the parent groups recommended not be retained – made snide, partisan remarks about unions during the open interview. Long-time Bush loyalist Kathleen Shanahan bemoaned the Florida teacher union’s opposition (not that its mattered) to their vision of reform. Particularly during Bennett’s interview, the board appeared to be pleading with him to give them ideas how to combat Florida’s “anti-testing culture” that’s become “conventional wisdom among parents, students and teachers.”
This will end soon. Some believe it’s a fait accompli that Bennett gets the job. But a few members of the board questioned Bennett about his demeanor and interpersonal skills. One board member even asked about Bennett what his opinion was of his weaknesses.
While Shanahan and Martinez obviously like to frame opposition as teacher union based, it was parent groups who were opposing Bennett and the other two “last-minute political applicants” this afternoon. Rick Scott knows the difference.