Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You're doing a heck of a job, Tony.

What's that thing politicians always say right before they dump someone from their team?

For President George W. Bush it was, "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" - just before he booted him from his Homeland Security job.

Rand Paul defended his staffer known as "The Southern Avenger," right before he became a distraction.

Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott, stood by his guy. Stay tuned.

The governor had declined two opportunities to speak publicly on the matter Tuesday, saying he had not read the AP report. But with the 2014 governor's race looming, observers say Scott has a tough decision to make.
"If the governor wants to appeal to moderates across the state, he has to get rid of (Bennett)," said Brian Peterson, a professor at Florida International University and editor of the Miami Education Review newsletter. "If he doesn't, the message is that the game is rigged, and that public schools are going to be treated differently from charter schools."
On Tuesday, Bennett said he had received "really pretty strong support" from Scott's well as members of the state Board of Education which has the power to hire and fire him, but its members are appointed by the governor.

This from  the Tampa Bay Times:
After a couple days of radio silence about the scandal involving Florida's education commissioner, Gov. Rick Scott finally has something to say. He told Channel 5 in West Palm Beach that Tony Bennett is "doing a great job."

Scott praised Bennett for being "very focused on accountability" and reiterated how well Florida's students are doing. Scott didn't say whether Bennett's job is secure, however. See the interview here. Scott has been through several education commissioners during his tenure as governor.

Bennett has been defending himself all week against an Associated Press report that he changed the grade for a charter school in Indiana run by a prominent Republican donor. See our story here.

Bennett told reporters Tuesday that he's gotten a lot of support from legislators and those in the governor's office. Former Gov. Jeb Bush'statement of support Tuesday. Rick Hess posted Wednesday his own interview with Bennett.
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Two Democratic lawmakers called Wednesday for Bennett to resign.

Scott's comments to Channel 5 are similar to a statement released by his communications director, Melissa Sellers: 

"Commissioner Bennett is clearly committed to making Florida’s education system the best in the nation. He has been a leader in increasing accountability, ensuring teachers are fairly evaluated, securing a teacher pay raise and investing an additional one billion dollars in education funding this year."

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