Compilation of reactions to the resignation of Education Commissioner Tony Bennett

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Saying he didn’t want to be a distraction, Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett announced his resignation Thursday amid a controversy stemming from his former job heading the Indiana education system. Bennett made the announcement during a news conference at the Department of Education and said Gov. Rick Scott had accepted the resignation. 

Here is a running compilation of the reactions to Bennett’s resignation:

Former Governor Jeb Bush:

“Tony started every day with the focus of creating a system that would equip kids to achieve their God-given potential. Today, more Hoosier kids are graduating high school ready for college or a career, fewer are dropping out. Last year, the parents of nearly 10,000 children in low-income homes were able to select the school that best fit their son or daughter. Leadership is doing what is right, knowing the results will follow. The data is clear; thanks to Tony’s leadership children are better prepared for success.”

Speaker Will Weatherford via Twitter:

@WillWeatherford: Thanks to @Tony_Bennett for his service to Florida and commitment to #edreform #sayfie

Senator Bill Galvano:

“I think it is very unfortunate to have this kind of interruption.”

Senator Audrey Gibson:

“It is baffling that some in the Legislature keep moving the bar higher on our children, while the bar for gubernatorial appointees to ensure their success seems to get lower and lower. Not to mention the instability of the “swinging door effect” that undermines forward movement on the critical role of government to educate our children.

“I would hope that the next Commissioner of Education be vetted beyond political allegiances, thoroughly understands the needs of Florida’s children, and be fully committed to their future.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant:

“I wholeheartedly welcome the resignation of Tony Bennett. I hope this serves as another wake-up call to Governor Scott, who has again and again showed his inability to hire qualified individuals for top positions within his administration. First Jennifer Carroll, then David Wilkins, and now Tony Bennett — Rick Scott’s department of bad hires continues to grow under the governor’s failed leadership.”

Florida Council of 100 Chairman Marshall Criser, III:

“The Florida Council of 100 would like to offer our sincere thanks to Tony Bennett for the time he shared with us in Florida.  Though far too brief, our students and our education system are better for his leadership, and we wish Tony and his family all the best in the future. 

“The Council of 100 will continue to support the increased competitiveness and diversification of Florida’s economy through a highly skilled and educated workforce.  High education standards, rigorous assessments, and strong accountability will advance our students’ and our state’s future.”

Foundation for Florida’s Future Executive Director Patricia Levesque:

“Tony has been a bold champion for students, and the bottom line is students are better off thanks to him. Under Commissioner Bennett’s leadership, Indiana graduation rates increased every year, while the number of students dropping out of school decreased by 48 percent. By the end of Tony’s time as Indiana’s chief, 81 percent of students were passing the state mathematics test. While in Florida, he led passionately and put Florida on a path that will guide the transition to higher standards. He is a good man and a good friend. Florida’s students will feel the loss of his leadership the most.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.