Tony Bennett Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth on Common Core


Indiana education chief Tony Bennett was locked in a tight race to keep his job. Knowing that Common Core Standards was unpopular with many conservative voters, Bennett had this to say about the Obama administration at a Tea Party rally this past summer:

“This administration has an insatiable appetite for federal overreach,” explained Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett at a Tea Party rally regarding the lawless federal power grab involved in foisting Common Core on America. “The federal government’s involvement in these standards is wrong.”

Bennett who justified Indiana’s adoption of Common Core by describing them as “fewer, clearer, and deeper” was obviously trying to appear he was against Common Core when he was actually for them. One would think that if Bennett were as supportive of Common Core as he says he would be welcoming the Obama administration’s position. Apparently not Tony Bennett the politician. But Tony Bennett, the appointee, sees things differently in Florida. In an interview with Rick Hess, Bennett had this to say:

Common Core implementation is a huge piece. There is a much more universal acceptance of the Common Core in Florida than there was in Indiana. It’s the implementation that is going to be very important. We really want to make sure that Florida is very intentional about continuing to lead the country – and we’re going to work with the board, legislature, and governor to identify the next steps of reform. When I was in Florida [earlier this week], Governor Scott told me to address two things when we spoke to educators and administrators: Common Core implementation and SB 736. Those are going to be out front.

And this in an interview with StateImpact reporter John O’Connor:

…..Because Gov. Bush, and I stand with him very strongly on this issue, has been a strong proponent for Common Core standards. He has also been a strong proponent for school choice; for, obviously, high-stakes testing and accountability.

Well if you think about those discussions and you take the high-stakes accountability and testing and you take Common Core, he is truly advocating of behalf of what is best for children without any consideration to which end of the spectrum he agrees with. And I would just ask you to think about that. Because that in and of itself is indicative of how strongly bi-partisan Jeb Bush the man sees the need for education reform. Frankly, he has been willing to go against the grain of some of his, and my, traditional constituents as it applies to Common Core. And he has taken on the education establishment on other issues, such as choice, accountability, teacher effectiveness.

So because Jeb Bush is for Common Core Standards, Bennett is, too? Are they “fewer, clearer, and deeper?” Or are they an “overreach by the Obama administration?” At least Bennett apparently realizes that Common Core and SB 736 are related. But like his mentor, Bush, he conveys no skepticism to the wisdom of either.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Tony Bennett Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth on Common Core

  1. stlgretchen says:

    Bob,

    I know many of the grassroots activists who worked very hard to get rid of Bennett in Indiana. My condolences you all are stuck with him in Florida. You do make a valid point: there is quite a difference when a commissioner has to run for election vs being an appointee. Here is Missouri, we’d like to see a change in electing our superintendent vs being appointed. At least the voters would have some voice in these reforms deemed to be “best practices”.

    These reformers just recycle, don’t they?

  2. Pingback: Tony Bennett Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth on Common Core | FPEP Blog

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