Tony Bennett’s style didn’t sit well with Indiana voters. In November, they voted him out of office after one term in favor of school librarian Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, while electing another Republican governor and backing Mitt Romney in the presidential race.
Bennett may fare better when he begins his new job today in Florida, where Republicans control the governor’s office and Legislature.
His agenda includes private school vouchers, charter schools, accountability standards for school administrators and teachers, high-stakes testing, and teacher pay based on annual evaluations. Florida already has adopted many of the changes he fought for in Indiana.
And in Florida, Bennett won’t answer to voters. The governor-appointed State Board of Education has the power to hire — and fire — education commissioners.
Bennett, 52, and most of the board members share a devotion to Bush, who continues to influence education policies through his Foundation for Florida’s Future.
“Gov. Bush is an admirer of Tony for his boldness and courage in doing the education reforms that were done in Indiana,” said Patricia Levesque, the foundation’s executive director. “There’s a mutual understanding and respect that Gov. Bush has for education reformers and they have for him.”
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels introduced Bush to Bennett in 2008.
We’ve reached tingle up the leg territory.
Few dispute the reality that Florida’s legislature dutifully takes marching orders from Bush through Levesque, his foundation’s chief policy maker and mouthpiece. Bush has convinced several republican governors to blindly accept and duplicate the ”Florida Model,” imaking clear the former Florida governor’s has become Svengali-like and creates insta-sychophants everywhere he goes. And pay no attention to Florida’s real record