Scott Mends Fences With State Board of Education

By: Lilly Rockwell, The News Service of Florida
By: Lilly Rockwell, The News Service of Florida


Gov. Rick Scott made friendly overtures to the State Board of Education in the wake of a critical letter the board chair sent blasting Scott’s treatment of outgoing Department of Education Commissioner Eric Smith.

Smith said on Monday he is resigning from his post in June. Smith was hired in 2007 as education commissioner and has been a champion of efforts to reform how teachers are paid by tying salaries to test scores.

In a letter on Tuesday, State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair also announced his resignation after eight years on the board, and blamed Scott. “It is distressing that the governor made no effort to meet with Commissioner Smith, at any time, since his inauguration,” Fair wrote. He ridiculed the board’s move toward selecting a new commissioner.

“This board, including its new members, merely provides the votes to affirm the governor’s choice,” Fair wrote. “It seems pointless to put on a public display that gives the impression that the decision will ultimately rest with the board.”

The State Board of Education holds the responsibility for selecting the commissioner, though board members are appointed by the governor.

The State Board of Education set an emergency meeting for Thursday morning to discuss finding a replacement for Smith. Several board members disclosed at the meeting that they had received phone calls from Scott on Wednesday, smoothing over a bit the ruffled feathers in the wake of Fair’s letter.

Board member Roberto Martinez said in his first conversation with Scott, the governor indicated his support for the board’s involvement in picking a successor to Smith and assured him of his interest in education.

Smith confirmed he had also received a call from Scott, which he called a “positive conversation.”

The board voted Thursday to direct the Department of Education to select up to three search firms to find the next education commissioner. The board will meet as soon as possible to pick a search firm and from there winnow down a list of candidates. Many board members said they wanted to find a replacement urgently.

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  • by Delia on Mar 25, 2011 at 06:29 PM
    Why is everyone upset? Could it be because Florida is being trampled on b a governor that simply doesn't care? Could it be that we have a governor who doesn't care if our children have an education just as long as they can pass a standardized test? Could it be that State employees were hired with THE PROMISE of having benefits that this governor wants to take away? Could it be that we have a governor who committed fraud and then lied, repeatedly, in a deposition? Could it be that we have a governor who says the state is broke then says he's going to spend millions of dollars on drug tests when they are not needed (unless there appears to be evidence that someone is using drugs)? Could it be that we have a governor that, obviously, cares nothing about Floridians in the low to middle class income bracket? Could it be that we have a governor that cares nothing about the Gulf, had an opportunity to decrease our use of foreign oil, and said no? Tell us WHY we should not care. If you love Florida, you realize why we care and why we're upset.
    • reply
      by jl on Mar 26, 2011 at 08:12 AM in reply to Delia
      AMAN!! Thats why we ARE upset!
  • by alex Location: tampa on Mar 25, 2011 at 03:04 PM
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
  • by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 01:15 PM
    Dave.. a "crook" ? Aww come on, he only plead the 5th 75 times in ONE SINGLE DEPOSITION and refused to even answer the simplest of questions. Google it. Wonder how many more times he'll be taking the 5th down the road? Only in Florida can a man like this be elected to office. First the "hanging chads" and now Slick Rick.
  • by Anonymous Location: tally on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:36 PM
    For once I would like to see a Group of people actually stand up to this guy and fight to be Heard, instead of Trampled on. Be proactive And get something accomplished instead of Complaining adn Killing eachother over this. For the Love Of god when are people to Realize this man Is only bringing us Down And do something about it.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 01:55 PM in reply to Anonymous
      I agree 100%. State employees and the Florida public need to stand together against this idiot. He is using the same process that Hitler used to rise to power. He is using state employees as a scapegoat to gain favor with the public (who feel opressed by the economy) who can't see through his lies. State government is not the reason for the state's problems (other than corrupt politicians - which includes Scott!). Public: read the Orlando Sentinel article. See how many (previously) unemployed college students from his campaign he placed in positions of power in state government. He is not doing the things he is promising you that he is! He has fooled you. You need to realize this before it's too late. Imagine a state where every governor rips the state apart every 4 years. Scott wants a Florida that is void of any government structure, oversight or power. Florida can't unite against him because they have no leader. Sink would have been bad for Florida too. We need better quality of people in government.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:15 PM in reply to Anonymous
      there was a rally tonight...i realize it doesnt effect change when it is only a few hundred people. but if there were would. we need media attention to 'do something about it'.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 26, 2011 at 05:51 PM in reply to
        if you noticed all the caps in anonymous's comment spell out fight back florida ;)
  • by Sad but true Location: Tallahassee on Mar 25, 2011 at 11:45 AM
    In response to Anonymous - No high school dropout here - try masters degree. Did you see one misspelled word or error in grammar? Teachers can't teach when they're restricted to teaching a test and parents don't even to try to educate their own children. They leave the teaching of morality, academics, and everything else that's important in life to the teachers. Much of that training & education must begin at home - thus the better educated children whose parents do home schooling. Those parents care. You sound like a moron - more like the high school dropout than I. Scott doesn't care about public education. Unless there's money to be made by him & his cronies, it's not important. I'd almost be willing to bet his children went to private schools. The less educated the better & easier to deceive. I bet you get your news from FOX. Where did you go to school? You're probably one of those people who would pay hundreds of dollars to go watch a professional ball game, but expect teachers to teach for free. Government has a lot of faults & needs improvement, but we can't let corporations run the country. Corporations screwed up and expected the government to bail them out and that was done with our taxpayer dollars. And, still, they had the audacity to give their top dogs big bonuses (with our money!)and thumbed their noses at those who objected. Are people's memories so short that they've forgotten that already? Until we as Floridians and Americans get our priorities straight and start holding people accountable, we're going to keep going down the wrong path. Trust me, you won't like the outcome when big corporations make all the rules.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:05 PM in reply to Sad but true
      Tell it, Truth-Sayer! Turn off the Fox Entertainment News and start looking at the reality. See the part Fox is playing to pit you against your fellow working class wage-earners. Money spent in education is well-spent. How is Rick Scott going to lure businesses into this area if we rank last in education spending? Smart people look at that kind of a statistic before they move their company to a new city. We can't compete with other cities to win jobs if nobody can spell or speak correct English. It doesn't mean lose the accent, just learn to speak or write in a way that shows your intelligence. I want our schools to do better for our children than just teach them how to do FCAT. I want them to help make intelligent minds who can find solutions better than we are doing now and be able to communicate that effectively with facts. Using scare tactics or religion is such an old old trick, and unfortunately, too many fall into the trap. Educate our children, arm our people with knowledge. Knowledge is power.
  • by James on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:53 AM
    Governor Scott needs to strike while the iron is hot. Dismantle the top-heavy bureaucracy now. If Scott is going to save tax monies, he will mandatorily need to dismantle DOE since it is 50% of our state's budget. We need to privatize and push for private vouchers to give parents a choice. The beast, DOE, has been unyielding for more than fifty years. It has been a long time coming. The DOE has fought for decades to shut out the privatization of school for those who felt deeply about not having to place their children in a public school decimated with incompetence, corruption, and crime committed against students. The voucher system would not hurt the public school systems had DOE and teachers' unions not been so dogmatic all these years about shutting out vouchers. They would not have grown into the huge conglomerate that it has become. Too large to repair. It has been proven so dramatically that home schooled students do so much better on various tests compared to the public school systems. Private schools are much more worth the dollar in value. Finally, a governor comes along who will dismantle this beast that has slapped parental rights in the face for fifty years.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 12:14 PM in reply to James
      If the state is funding the voucher system, exactly how does this save the state money? You know what, nevermind. You obviously have no idea what you're talking about.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:24 PM in reply to
        circle logic. take the exit to linear thinking, man.
    • reply
      by No vouchers on Mar 25, 2011 at 06:10 PM in reply to James
      @James. I don't have children and I did not use public education when I was in school. Despite not using the service, I am required to help pay for it for other people through the taxes I pay. If I am required to pay for other people's kids to go to school, then I don't want to pay any more than I have to. I don't want my tax money going to pay for private schools. If you don't like how DOE is doing things, then become a teacher or principal and change things. Barring that, home school or pay for private school yourself but don't expect a voucher for it. My taxes should go to provide a minimum service, not an expensive private school or for someone to sit at home and "teach". The end result of the education depends a lot on what parents put into it.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:22 PM in reply to No vouchers
        Ok. Well, then, I don't want to pay for exclusive neighborhoods to have street lighting. We don't have street lights on my street. You will be fine. Ok. how about let's not have the roads to your house paved. I mean, what's a few pot holes? Look how well it has gone with the mentally ill. Reagan cut funding for that. Now, instead of getting help in state hospitals or other resources, they are homeless or shooting congresswomen in Arizona. Taxes are something we pay because our founding fathers agreed we should contribute to the welfare of our nation's citizens. I may not use your street light, and you may not use a school, but we all benefit from both.
  • by Dave Location: Tallahassee on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:45 AM
    Doesn't it seem funny to the rest of you that a CEO of a company caught stealing wants to get rid of regulators. Don't all crooks wish there were less police and to be able chose who they want on to be judges and heads of regulatory departments. The fox is in the hen house because the farmers were sleeping during the last election. The voters need to start paying more attention to actual information and less to sound bites they want to hear.
    • reply
      by Amen on Mar 25, 2011 at 06:12 PM in reply to Dave
      If I hear one more mindless robot repeating "get to work" over and over again while blaming all the world's problems on state employees I think my ears might start bleeding!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:25 PM in reply to Amen
        the five rick scott supporters who showed up to rebuff the 250 or so Fight Back Florida supporters were wearing bandanas over their faces, like robbers. They were chanting 'get back to work'. I guess their jobs are robbing Florida's future, so they wore the appropriate uniform.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:44 AM
    More job loss...., are you doing what you campaingned to do?
  • by Money for Education on Mar 25, 2011 at 10:03 AM
    Board of Governors, Board of Education, Boards of Trustees, Commissioner, Deputy Commissioners, three Chancellors, Bureau Chiefs - that is where the education budget goes. So much for the "small-government" party.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 09:19 AM
    by the way Lee it doesnt matter what party you are a member of the fact remains Scott is bad for Florida and those who voted for him will be the ones who will stick with him and yes public info is available to those who choose to check like the info on Scott's criminal record but what do you know he still get's to be your governor
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 25, 2011 at 07:09 PM in reply to
      I would think any fiscally conservative human with a brain would realize that rick is NOT your man. He's eliminating jobs and he's spending money on useless drug testing. Why? for his personal profit.
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