Florida is looking for a new education commissioner tonight. Gerard Robinson is leaving after just one year on the job, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, it was anything but a smooth year.
When FCAT writing scores plummeted in May, the State Board of Education had to call an emergency meeting and lower the grading scale by 25 percent just to keep the passing average the same as the year before.
Then, just last week, 213 schools got good news…their school grades were being increased by one letter because the department had miscalculated.
“I wouldn’t describe it as eating crow,” Robinson said back in May. “I would describe it as a process that the board and myself took a look at data.”
Now State Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson is quitting. In his letter of resignation he says it is to spend more time with his family. The teachers union says his downfall was not listening to those who know best.
“A good replacement would be someone who is willing to listen and act on what the concerns are of teachers, administrators, and parents,” Mark Pudlow, with the Florida Education Association said.
The Jeb Bush backed Foundation for Florida’s Future praised Robinson for pushing forward with what they call “important improvements to its standards and accountability system.”
The Governor doesn’t hire the commissioner of Education, but he does hire the people who do, which means he’ll have a lot of say in who gets the job.
Governor Rick Scott had pushed vigorously for Robinson shortly after easing the former commissioner out.
“I don’t think that’s an easy job,” Scott said. “I think he worked hard at it. I think the nice thing about Gerard is you know he cared about students, you know he cared about measurement.”
Robinson has been making $275,000 a year, making him one of the highest paid state employees in Florida, and he leaves his post just after his first anniversary on the job.