In fact last year Florida was interested in Bennett to replace Eric Smith as superintendent, but Gerard Robinson, another member of Chiefs for Change, got the job. He resigned last August after a series of blunders involving the state’s highly criticized standardized test-based accountability system.
Another leading contender from the dozens of candidates for the superintendency in Florida is Hanna Skandera, New Mexico’s public education secretary-designate and vice chair of Chiefs for Change, the sources said.
Parent coalitions in Florida that oppose Bush-style reform started communicating by text and email shortly after Bennett’s defeat became clear to develop a strategy to stop him from coming to their state as superintendent.
Some Florida opponents of Bush-style education reform say they would like to see the interim superintendent, veteran educator Pam Stewart, to keep the job, but it’s not clear whether she would want to and she apparently isn’t at the top of the decision-makers list for the position.
As superintendent in Indiana, Bennett pushed through the state takeover of struggling schools, new teacher evaluations linked to standardized test scores, a statewide voucher program, the expansion of charter schools, the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, and a system to give A through F grades to schools, as pioneered in Florida by Bush. The teacher who defeated him, Glenda Ritz, opposes just about all of this — though there are certain things she can’t turn back, such as the voucher law.