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.