Commissioner Tony Bennett: 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.

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