Tallahassee, FL — While an elected official in Indiana, now-Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett worked ” frantically” to improve the letter grade of a charter school owned by a top GOP donor, the AP reported today. The founder of Christel House had given more than $2.8 million to Republicans, including over $130,000 to Bennett’s political warchest.
Just 10 months ago Bennet worked aggressively to give top donor Christel DeHaan’s for-profit school an “A” grade, when it really deserved a “C” grade. After making repeated promises he could not keep, Bennett asked his team for help to “wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months.”
“You can judge Rick Scott by the kind of people he hires. Scott hand-picked Jennifer Carrol to be his running mate in 2010, but was forced to ask for her resignation after repeated scandals. Scott hired his long-time ally David Wilkins to run the Dept. of Children and Families, only to have him forced out by months of scandal and tragedy,” said FDP Chair Allison Tant.
“And now we have found out that Education Commissioner Tony Bennett tried to bend the rules for an influential donor at his last job. If a teacher tried to fake a grade like that, she’d be fired. Floridians deserve answers. Is Bennett up to his usual tricks, doing favors for GOP donors? How can we trust Florida’s school grades — already the product of political manipulation — with Tony Bennett in charge?”