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School grade changes highlight Rick Scott-Jeb Bush split

The state Board of Education's decision last week to inflate school grades for a second year was widely praised by parents and educators, but it also exposed a hard-to-miss rift between the closest allies of former Gov. Jeb Bush and those who back Gov. Rick Scott.

The 4-3 decision to reduce the number of F schools in the state by nearly 60 percent was divided along Bush-Scott lines, with Bush allies against.

None of the seven board members nor Education Commissioner Tony Bennett would speak with the Times/Herald about Tuesday's vote.

Their silence, however, has fueled speculation about the motives on each side. Scott allies have been accused of padding grades to help Scott's re-election prospects.

Bush's closest allies — including former chiefs of staff Kathleen Shanahan and Sally Bradshaw, and John Padget, whom Bush appointed superintendent of Monroe County schools — face questions about trying to punish public schools to help make the case for private and charter school expansion. Bush's private Foundation for Florida's Future lobbied against the change.

Read more here.

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