States

Fla. Says Goodbye to Outgoing Commissioner, Readies for Replacement

By Alan Richard — October 05, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Florida’s new commissioner of education plans to uphold the school accountability measures championed by Gov. Jeb Bush and pledges to fully implement the class-size reductions and preschool programs now required under state law.

John Winn, who is scheduled to begin work as the state schools chief on Sept. 1, said he also would keep the pressure on school districts to roll out teacher-performance-pay plans, which are required as well under state law.

“There’s going to be stability,” said Mr. Winn, who is moving up from serving as the chief of staff to outgoing Commissioner of Education Jim Horne, who announced Aug. 10 that he was resigning to spend more time with his family.

“I have always said it was a priority for me to make the department of education the best state agency in Florida,” the new chief said in an interview last week.

A 30-year veteran in education and school policy, Mr. Winn has been a deputy state education commissioner and a key aide to Gov. Bush, a Republican. A former elementary and middle school teacher, as well as community college instructor, he first joined the state education agency in 1984.

Hired as the commissioner by the state education board on Aug. 17, Mr. Winn inherits an agency that oversees Florida education from kindergarten through graduate school. His early duties have so far included the monitoring of seven schools that were closed last month after Hurricane Charley struck the western coast of Florida.

He also faces the implementation of two major state constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2002, requiring the state to reduce class sizes sharply in grades K-12 and to offer preschool across the state starting in fall 2005.

Leaving a Mark

Another state law requires school districts to begin “career ladders” this year that closely link teacher salaries with student achievement and create a series of teacher-leadership positions in schools.

Mr. Horne had considered a plan that would have devoted a large sum of money to the performance-pay plan in his 2005-06 budget proposal, but Mr. Winn said last week that the money should be part of school districts’ general state funding instead.

With the class-size limits and preschools now required by law, Florida must pay for those programs “before anything else,” Mr. Winn said.

Mr. Horne’s departure comes almost a year after two scandals rocked Florida’s school choice programs, leading the commissioner to increase financial controls over private schools that accept state-sponsored scholarships. (“Fla. Vouchers Move Toward Tighter Rules,” Sept. 17, 2003.)

He denied that his resignation had anything to do with accusations that his agency had not exercised proper oversight of the programs.

“My motivations for leaving were 110 percent personal,” Mr. Horne said in an interview. If the criticism had been the main reason, he added, “I’d have quit six to nine months ago in the middle of the controversy.”

He urged the new commissioner to “stay focused on the existing reforms and make sure that they work.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 01, 2004 edition of Education Week as Fla. Says Goodbye to Outgoing Commissioner, Readies for Replacement

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Republican and Democratic Governors Both Are Touting This K-12 Priority
Workforce readiness and career and technical education were the most common education themes in governors' state of the state addresses.
6 min read
Heidi Griebel and Josie Wahl participate in carpentry class at Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 7, 2019.
Heidi Griebel and Josie Wahl participate in carpentry class at Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 7, 2019. CTE programs were a core theme of several governors' state addresses in 2024.
Loren Townsley/The Argus Leader via AP
States School Chaplain Bills Multiply, Stirring Debate on Faith-Based Counseling
Proponents say school chaplains could help address a mental health crisis. Opponents raise concerns about religious coercion.
6 min read
Image of a bible sitting on top of a school backpack.
Canva
States What's on the K-12 Agenda for States This Year? 4 Takeaways
Reading instruction, private school choice, and teacher pay are among the issues leading governors' K-12 education agendas.
6 min read
Gov. Brad Little provides his vision for the 2024 Idaho Legislative session during his State of the State address on Jan. 8, 2024, at the Statehouse in Boise.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little outlines his priorities during his State of the State address before lawmakers on Jan. 8, 2024, at the capitol in Boise.
Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP
States Q&A How Districts Can Navigate Tricky Questions Raised by Parents' Rights Laws
Where does a parent's authority stop and a school's authority begin? A constitutional law scholar weighs in.
6 min read
Illustration of dice with arrows and court/law building icons: conceptual idea of laws and authority.
Andrii Yalanskyi/iStock/Getty