BRADENTON – Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett resigned Thursday, three days after a scandal broke surrounding emails that showed he and staff reworked Indiana's school grading system to improve the grade of a charter school run by a powerful political donor, while Bennett was serving as Indiana's education chief.
"It's not fair to the children of Florida that I continue as commissioner and deal with the distraction," Bennett said during a press conference announcing his resignation. "I end my tenure with my head held high."
According to e-mails sent last year, Bennett pushed top staff members to raise the grade of Christel House to an "A." The charter school had earned only a "C" by the standards that Bennett had brought to the state, where he had been a strong supporter of charter school expansion.
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