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Two lawmakers call for state education commissioner to be elected position

One day after Tony Bennett resigned as state education commissioner, two Democratic lawmakers called for the state's top education job to be an elected position.

Bennett, who stepped down amid a school-grade controversy, had been appointed to the post by the seven-member state Board of Education. He was the latest in a revolving door of appointed state education leaders. During Gov. Rick Scott's 31 months in office, there here have been three permanent education commissioners and two interim ones. 

"Maybe it's time that Florida consider returning back to an elected commissioner of education," said Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami.

Florida had an elected education commissioner until early 2003, when a Constitutional amendment kicked in reducing the number of elected cabinet officials from six to three.

The last education commissioner to be voted into office: former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Republican state Sens. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, and Greg Evers, R-Baker, suggested the position be elected last year, but the idea got little traction.

On Friday, Bullard said Floridians had "become tired of individuals who are picked by kingmakers who have been in the educational process for a number of years, political appointees and politically driven commissioners who really don't understand the meat and potatoes of Florida education."

"What we are in essence dealing with is a lack of trust among Floridians of those who are putting these people in place," Bullard said.

State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, said having an elected commissioner would lend stability to the state education department

"For us, it really comes down to accountability at the highest levels of education," Rodriguez said. "If you are going to have elected statewide cabinet officers as we do, why not a statewide education commissioner?"

As we noted yesterday, the state Board of Education might have a hard time filling the job.

Comments

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Florida. HELP!

Whatever keeps Rick Scott from doing anything else in this state. He's already had like 15 people resign from his administration. Florida starting to look more like Columbia HCA. I wouldn't be surprised if he's under investigation right now.

Can't take anymore

We long had elected Secretaries of Education that were full voting members of the Florida Cabinet until the RPOF and JEB!, Inc. conned voters into giving the Governor (him!) that power. It has been many years now that the Republicans have been working steadily at disassembling our public educational infrastructure and the transfer of public funds to their corporate cronies. Wake up, suckers!

Just me

I agree, this should be an elected position and the monopoly on Florida's kids, teachers, and control of the system needs to be given back to the people. Our kids are not for sell, our teachers deserve to be treated better. They did not sign up to educate children under CCSI standards. They love children and want to teach, so why not let them???? It is our taxpayer money, DO NOT GIVE US SOMETHING WE DID NOT BUY!!!

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