While the editors of the Lakeland Ledger were urging incoming education commissioner Tony Bennett to “have a more inclusive management style,” they took aim at the department he is charged with running:
Tallahassee’s frequent, and embarrassing, releases of inaccurate student assessment data, flawed teacher assessment scores, skewed school grades and so on is as much a consequence of the Department of Education’s top-down management style as anything else.
For the most part, requests from Florida school superintendents for a more collaborative relationship with the Education Department have fallen on deaf ears, with predictable consequences.
Such institutional arrogance, unfortunately, has been the rule rather than the exception for far too long. That’s what Bennett should work to reverse.
If Bennett can establish a more productive relationship between the department and the school districts, that would be great progress.res
The Ledger’s editors unfortunately give the republican-dominated legislature a pass as it is they who have deliberately taken control away from local school boards and given it to Tallahassee. This “top-down management” style originates which legislative dictates from the Bush Foundation as evidenced from Patricia Levesque’s efforts earlier this month to change the SB 736 formula with new legislation.
But the “institutional arrogance” the Ledger writes exists. There’s no better example than former education commissioner Gerard Robinson’s scold earlier this year of Florida’s school board members to essentially do as they were told when they were considering a resolution against high-stakes testing. Robinson’s missive is defensively statute-based as Florida’s legislators have purposefully wrested control of schools away from local elected officials and given it to political appointees at the FDOE and on the state board of education.
Florida’s newest political appointee, Tony Bennett, knows about this dynamic. What improvements, if any, he intends to make in it is still up in the air.