Florida Democratic Party News Clips - August 2, 2013
TAMPA BAY TIMES: "SCOTT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LACK OF TRUST...HE CAMPAIGNED AS THOUGH TEACHERS AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS WERE THE ENEMY"
Florida education leadership in disarray [Tampa Bay Times Editorial] "Tony Bennett made the right decision by resigning Thursday as Florida's education commissioner. His credibility was irreparably damaged by the revelation this week that as head of Indiana's public schools he intentionally improved the letter grade of an Indianapolis charter school founded by a major Republican donor. The controversy likely will to continue to unfold...Ultimately, Gov. Rick Scott is responsible for the lack of trust in the direction of public education in Florida. He campaigned as though teachers and public schools were the enemy, and he signed state budgets into law that slashed spending on public education...Scott has had extraordinarily high turnover among agency heads during his first term, and no seat has been hotter than education commissioner...If Scott and the Board of Education persuade someone to take the job and move to Tallahassee, here's some free advice: Rent, don't buy."
TAMPA TRIBUNE: "STATE CAN ILL AFFORD ANOTHER MISTAKE" FROM RICK SCOTT
State out of do-overs [Tampa Tribune] "The state Board of Education needs to find a new commissioner who is free of the ideological baggage that dogged Tony Bennett from the time of his arrival in Florida earlier this year. Bennett did the right thing by resigning Thursday. Emails show he had gone to some lengths while commissioner of Indiana's school system to make sure a charter school run by an influential Republican Party donor received an 'A' grade rather than the 'C' it initially received...Bennett was also mired in controversy over his recent manipulation of school grades in Florida to limit the number of failing schools...With Bennett's departure, Gov. Rick Scott has now worked with three commissioners and two interim commissioners since taking office in 2011."
BENNETT'S RESIGNATION MARKS 6TH TOP SCOTT OFFICIAL TO RESIGN IN SCANDAL IN 15 MONTHS
Rick Scott deals with another embarrassing resignation [Sarasota Herald Tribune] "Gov. Rick Scott’s effort to re-invent himself as the education governor took another hit on Thursday. With the resignation of his education commissioner over charges he’d inflated grades at charter schools for political reasons, Scott is again left searching for someone to lead a high-profile agency that has been a revolving door since he took office in 2011. And it is raising political questions about Scott’s eye for talent in filling top leadership positions. In the last 15 months alone, six top Scott administration officials have resigned amid controversy."
EVEN MORE STRIFE WITHIN THE SCOTT ADMINISTRATION
More turmoil in Rick Scott administration [News Service of Florida] "With the likely departure of Florida's second long-term-care ombudsman in two years, advocates for the elderly and providers of long-term care say they are mystified. Jim Crochet, who became the state's top watchdog for elder-care residents in 2011, was placed on administrative leave Friday amid an investigation by the Department of Elder Affairs. Agency staffers were admonished to notify senior officials if Crochet tried to contact them. 'Do not discuss anything with him,' wrote deputy ombudsman Susan Anderson to program staff. 'Please make sure your volunteers are aware of this.' The move left a lot of people scratching their heads."
OBAMACARE WILL BRING BENEFITS TO FLORIDIANS IN NEED OF HEALTHCARE
Five Florida counties listed among the worst 30 in the country for health care coverage [Creative Loafing] "There are just two months left before the exchanges that will allow millions of uninsured Americans to obtain health care coverage go live. To mark the countdown, a progressive think-tank released a new report today listing the worst counties in the country for health care services. The Center for American Progress' report named 30 counties, and five of them are in Florida, though none in the Tampa Bay area; they are Collier, Hendry, Miami-Dade, Monroe and DeSoto counties. 'What we're seeing is that many counties in Florida have a great deal to benefit from the implementation of Obamacare,' said Tom Perriello, President of the Center for American Progress Action Fund."