|Rick Scott and Gerard Robinson
Rhee, who is also faulted for her limited classroom experience (three years in Baltimore) was quickly hailed as the face of reform when she turned around D.C. test scores. After another brief stint, she left to chase bigger things, advising Scott and founding Students First. However, her legacy has been called into question, as her controversial high-pressure methods were revealed and the validity of her "results" called into question after gross irregularities in tests suggested that they may have been altered after students turned them in. She's gone from the cover of Newsweek and Time to an investigation by the U.S Department of Education.
Soon after Robinson's appointment, Rick Scott announced, "leadership as an experienced education reformer and advocate for school choice and closing the achievement gap is exactly what Florida needs to reach the next level of education reforms that will benefit both our students and the business of our state." There is still a question in the air about when Robinson knew he was picked, when and what Scott said when he called state board member Akshay Desai, the day before the vote, and why Robinson was already in Tallahassee when the vote (that only took 10 minutes to confirm Robinson to the position) was over, as reported by Gradebook.
Robinson's first outing, pumping the public full of school choice, will most likely not be his last. Much of what he learned as a senior research associate for the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas, will be reflected in what he has to show Florida. Whether the current turbulence in Florida's schools can muster what Robinson has in store is yet to be seen. Taking a comb to the tangled process in which he was appointed, might shine some light. If the proof is in the pudding, all Floridians might want to keep an eye on what's for lunch.