After Tony Bennett lost his reelection bid as Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Florida Board of Education quickly hired him to lead Florida schools.
Bennett quickly made a friend and mentor in former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bennett is a founding member of Chiefs for Change, an education policy group of chief school officers affiliated with Bush’s education non-profit.
In Indiana, Bennett adopted many of the policies Bush pioneered in Florida: Retaining third graders who fail a state reading test, assigning schools A to F grades based in part on standardized test scores and expanding school choice options such as charter schools and private school vouchers.
Bennett also pushed to develop evaluations which use standardized test scores and to pay teachers based on those evaluations. Bennett also pushed to end long-term teacher contracts.
Bennett also supports implementing Common Core State Standards, and the Florida State Board of Education said his expertise in the transition was one reason they hired him for Florida.
Bennett took over as Education Commissioner on January 14, 2013.