Will Indiana’s Bennett be heading to Florida?

Florida officials say they plan to conduct a nationwide search to replace Gerard Robinson, who resigned abruptly this week as state commissioner of education. Will the search bring them first to Indiana?

This is pure speculation, but why not? Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has become something of a rock star in what’s known as the education reform world. He’s as obvious a choice to lead Florida’s education system as anyone.

Bennett is considered to be tight with former Gov. Jeb Bush, still a big name in Florida politics. He is a charter member and current chair of Chiefs for Change, an organization of chief school officials affiliated with Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.

He won Indiana the title of “reformiest” state in the nation in a competition sponsored the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, which is highly regarded in conservative education policy circles. And in May, the American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice gave Bennett their John T. Walton Champion of School Choice award.

As NPR StateImpact Florida made clear, Bennett looked to Florida as a model for the education policies that Indiana has adopted, and he and Gov. Mitch Daniels turned to Jeb Bush for help in getting Indiana Republicans to support the ideas. Continue reading

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