Commissioner Tony Bennett: Blog: Looking At and Beyond the Scoreboard


To say education is a family interest is an understatement. I’ve spent nearly three decades in education as a science teacher and principal as well as district and state superintendent. My wife, Tina, had a successful career as a teacher and high school principal. Also, one of my daughters, Trisha, recently joined the teaching profession and I could not be more proud. I’m sure many Floridians can relate to this background as it is not unusual to have a family full of educators.

In my opinion, our students are best served in education when parents, educators, and communities communicate on issues facing our classrooms. That is why I will not use a top-down approach to Florida’s education reform. I want to hear from all Floridians because we are all stakeholders in our students’ education. My goal is to utilize the best ideas for student success regardless of their origin. The best change comes from collaboration.

Today, I brought out the infamous student achievement scoreboard that I kept outside my office as Indiana’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In my new position as Florida’s Commissioner of Education, I will keep the scoreboard up as a constant reminder to me and my colleagues of the importance of accountability in measuring teacher and student success.

Parents should feel confident that when their child graduates from high school he or she will be ready for today’s competitive environment. In turn, teachers should be praised for the tremendous work they do to transform their classrooms into launching pads for success.

I believe that a strong accountability system must be met with a strong network of resources. Over the next few weeks, I will begin working with Florida’s school and community leaders to determine how we can create a seamless education system.

Great things are ahead for Florida’s students, educators, and parents. If we work together we will create an even brighter future for the Sunshine State. I look forward to sharing in this endeavor with all of you and to building a path of success for all Florida students.


9 thoughts on “Commissioner Tony Bennett: Blog: Looking At and Beyond the Scoreboard

  1. I am happy to read that Commissioner Bennett intends to be inclusive in his decision-making processes. I look forward to meeting him and working together to provide the highest quality education for Florida’s students.

    Bev Slough
    St. Johns County School Board

  2. Welcome. Thanks for coming to help us make education in Florida the best it can be. I am eager to “Look at and Beyond the Scoreboard” also as you develop the Florida team to make the improvements and reform efforts required to bring us into the 21st century. Again, welcome to this Great State of Florida.

    William J. Nelson
    Assistant Principal
    Citrus County Schools

  3. Dr. Bennett,

    Welcome to Florida! I want to first say “Thank you” for answering my question about the teacher evaluation process in Florida. As you requested in your answer to me, I have reviewed the Bellwether Education Partners study on the several states that have instituted recent reforms in teacher evaluations. As indicated, while Indiana’s system has few theoretical flaws, ours in Florida falls a little short. I look forward to seeing you close some of the gaps in the present process so that it is more meaningful to both the evaluator and the evaluatee. I wholeheartedly believe in accountability as long as everybody has a clear understanding for what they are accountable, and the process by which that accountability will be measured. That is what I consider the “teacher scoreboard” and it should be revisited.

    I thank you, again, for your openness at the FASA discussion on Monday.


    Keith L. Hatcher
    Fort White High School

  4. I was heartened by your positive comments regarding including ideas from all, and focusing on success. I believe that is what the legislature wants to do also. I can’t wait to see what great ideas we will put in place while you lead.

    Julie WIlliams
    Kindergarten Teacher
    Newberry Elementary, Alachua County

  5. I am excited to be a part of this team! When everyone is accountable for their part in our student’s education, then the puzzle pieces all fit together. Our educational system can grow in a positive and productive manner to reflect our student’s achievements.

  6. I am hoping you truly believe in listening to your teachers for ideas and concerns. It is also my hope you see beyond the testing realm and believe in innovative teaching which is applicable and relevant to our students. I will be watching with interest as we head into this new venture in Florida.

  7. Dr. Bennett: Is there an accepted curriculum for teaching the Bible as History and Literature? In guestion is FSS 233.062. I support the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools which I as certain you are familar with. Few educators here in Broward County are familar with the Council. How would you suggest I go from here?

  8. Dear Commissioner,
    I’m not sure you are going to read this but I would like you to know that I have a granddaughter in 3rd grade who has been on the honor role since 1st grade. She has been preparing for the FCATS since starting school. She is of a very calm nature and loves school but has become very anxious about the FCATS after her class was told by her teacher that they could be left back if they failed the FCATS. The teacher also told her that if they failed she – the teacher-would get a bad grade. I know something is wrong with this system and I know this is the last year of FCATS-why would the school system put these kids through this when it is being discontinued after this year-why are they taking these tests? I have read about the new system and I have little faith in it-what is wrong with the basic education we received as children along with high tech education necessary for today’s world? Something has been wrong with education in general and will still be wrong with the new system coming up-how sad for our children!
    Maria Tammaro

  9. I dont know how a blog works so I dont know if you will see this, answer it, or even know how to see any answer you may provide. My concern at resent is do children in grages K-12 virtual public school programs receive a high school diploma or if they only get a GED. The rumors are swirling fast and surious that our kids will only receive a GED despite having to meet all state and district standards as public school students. I am on facebook or I can be reached by email. As a parent of an ESE student I also have many questions about services that are being denied to my child because the local school claims that because we made a “choice” to use virtual school that they are not obligated to provide services. Hope you can be the champion our kids need here in Florida!

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