The chairman of Florida’s State Board of Education resigned in protest last week over what he saw as Gov. Rick Scott’s ouster of Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith.
Chairman T. Willard Fair said he was “alarmed by the governor’s dismissive treatment of this board,” which hired Mr. Smith in 2007 after a national search. He said Gov. Scott, who took office in January, never consulted with the board or with Mr. Smith before forcing the commissioner’s resignation.
Mr. Smith, a former teacher and superintendent who led Florida’s successful Race to the Top grant bid, said he would step down on June 10 so the new Republican governor could help the board choose a successor to pursue his goals. The first bill Mr. Scott signed as governor ended tenure for new teachers and created a merit pay system tied to test scores.
A version of this article appeared in the March 30, 2011 edition of Education Week as Florida Commissioner Stepping Down in June