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State Board of Education chairman quits over Scott’s handling of commissioner’s resignation

by Dara Kam | March 23rd, 2011

T. Willard Fair, chairman of the state Board of Education, has resigned over Gov. Rick Scott’s handling of the resignation of education commissioner Eric Smith, who announced he was stepping down on Monday.

Fair’s term had already expired in December, but has remained on the board until Scott replaces him.

In a letter to board members sent yesterday, Fair, appointed to the board by Gov. Jeb Bush, criticized the manner in which Scott handled Smith’s resignation. Fair essentially accuses Scott of usurping the board’s authority by forcing Smith to resign. The governor-appointed board is charged with hiring and firing commissioners. Fair said that Scott has not met with Smith since the governor took office in January.

Fair wrote that he is “alarmed by the Governor’s dismissive treatment of this Board, which after all, hired Eric Smith, but which was not consulted, regarding the Governor’s desire to divest the State of his services.”

The board is holding an emergency meeting tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. “relating to discussion and action the announced departures of the Commissioner of Education and Chair of the State Board of Education,” the Department of Education advised in a press release today.

But Fair said the meeting is a farce.

“In fact, the notion that this Board should immediately commence a “national search” for a new Commissioner, flies in the face of the reality that Governor Scott will choose his new Commissioner. This Board, including its new members, will merely provide the votes that affirm the Governor’s choice. Therefore, it seems pointless to put on a public display that gives the impression that the decision will ultimately rest with the Board,” he wrote.

Read Fair’s letter after the jump.

“Fellow Board Members,

While I am still absorbing the resignation of Commissioner Eric Smith, I think it is important to clarify a few points, in response to Board Member, Roberto Martinez’s comments this morning.

First, while I respect Governor Rick Scott’s desire to put his own Commissioner in place, it is distressing that the Governor made no effort to meet with Commissioner Smith, at any time, since his Inauguration. Therefore, the Governor cannot know whether Commissioner Smith would have been the right person to carry his educational priorities forward.

Second, it is not Commissioner Smith’s responsibility to conduct the search for his replacement. That responsibility would normally fall squarely on this Board. However, these are not normal circumstances.

In fact, the notion that this Board should immediately commence a “national search” for a new Commissioner, flies in the face of the reality that Governor Scott will choose his new Commissioner. This Board, including its new members, will merely provide the votes that affirm the Governor’s choice. Therefore, it seems pointless to put on a public display that gives the impression that the decision will ultimately rest with the Board.

I am dismayed by the process that has unfolded, regarding Commissioner Smith, whose many achievements – from the improvements in statewide test scores on the FCAT and nationally on the NAEP, to the steps taken to
close the racial achievement gap among Florida’s students, to our State’s successful “Race to the Top” application – were alluded to in Board Member Martinez’s letter.

I am also alarmed by the Governor’s dismissive treatment of this Board, which after all, hired Eric Smith, but which was not consulted, regarding the Governor’s desire to divest the State of his services.

Commissioner Smith will go on to new successes, and will be an asset to whatever organization benefits from Florida’s loss. But I strongly disagree that this process should not be debated.

As you know, my term as Board Chairman, termed-out on December 31, 2010. However, as per tradition, I have stayed on until the Governor selects my replacement. As my final act as Chairman, I resoundingly reject Commissioner Smith’s resignation. And I hereby tender my immediate resignation from the Board.”

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47 Responses to “State Board of Education chairman quits over Scott’s handling of commissioner’s resignation”

  1. spat Says:

    How petty? No wonder our education system is such a boondoggle…this sounds like to gay lovers on the same board having a spat.

  2. Anon Says:

    Stupid voters –> stupid governor (or should I say “I’ll take the 5th amendment for the 100th time” governor regarding how I earned my billion dollar asset. Don’t blame teachers when your children r stupid. Look in the mirror & the politicians.
    Good luck people :)

  3. 2012- End of an Error Says:

    If that board has the emotional maturity of it’s ex Chairman, no wonder Scott ignores them. Maybe they’ll hire some adults next time around!

  4. U voted 4 him cuz U hate Obama Says:

    For all you haters who voted for Scott because he appealed to your hate for President Obama……I hope you get exactly what you all deserve. Ha



  6. Blackman Says:

    We don’t have a governor in Fl. We have a dictator. Like George Bush who also was small in stature and puny looking, Scott thinks acting tough will enhance his image and cause folk to respect him. More ‘cowboy politics’.

  7. Cory Says:

    Lol people overreact. Yeah, I guess Obama is a dictator by those standards too which people like Hillary being ticked at how he enforces his “policies”. Yeah one person is upset therefore Scott is a “dictator” good lord. By the way, those who say people voting for Scott are stupid…how do you fee with your man-child in the White House?

  8. Anony Says:

    I suspect he is doing the same thing with the florida transportation commission.

  9. Charles Says:

    To Cory – I doubt that there is one person upset with the politics that are coming down.

  10. James Says:

    Scott’s actions are the same reason I can’t stand Obama.He thinks he’s smarter than everybody else and does not need to consult anyone whe in fact he is very inexperienced in how things work. I’m afraid we are effed for 4 years of this clown and eventually his supporters will find out the hard way. Creating more unemployment which will add to the housing bust and foreclosure mess is no way going to help our economy.

  11. debra Says:

    I did not vote for Rick Scott, I don’t like Rick Scott, but the worst thing of all, is I have no respect for Rick Scott or the so called “Office of Governor.” He has shown his plans to run this state as a dictatorship. I applaud the Chairman Fair in at least being honest in his opinion and his resignantion. Our education and social services are going down the tubes with Rick in charge, btu he will deny it many times??? 75 ??

  12. Go Rick Says:

    This is the Hope and Change I’m looking for. Get rid of more gubment do nothings Rick. Thank you.

  13. Systematic Solution Says:

    Rick Scott was elected by the majority of Florida voters n spite of a massive attack effort brought froth by the government entrenched leeches! After all it is we the people (Taxpayers, Voters) who actually run this state not you the leeches who join unions and demand more and more money and benefits!
    Any Florids State employee who wiggles and squirms at the thought of having to take a drug test, is a drug user! Period! Decent, Honest workers who have nothing to hide take them every day! No Problem! This should be expanded to the legislature and every state and county judge in Florida! I’ll bet Rick Scott will be glad to take a drug screen! Honest people have nothing to hide!

  14. Big Daddy Says:

    @systematic solution-Rick Scott was not elected by a majority of Florida voters-he just got more votes than Alex Sink. Neither of them were able to command a majority of Florida voters (meaning at least 50.1% of those who cast ballots). So please stop selling that falsehood. The people don’t run anything in this state-it is the people who are members of those unions and other state employees who are non-unionized who operate the day-to-day workings of our state. You don’t fix potholes or replace broken traffic lights or repair leaky roofs at the courthouse, or give instruction to 180,000 children every day, do you?
    Drug screens are the biggest scam in the world because they don’t screen for the biggest problem facing Floridians–pure stupidity. There is no test for that, unfortunately. What they drug screening does accomplish is the making the honest person who must be subject to one feel as if they are already a criminal.
    I get it that you don’t like public employees or unions. But I gather you also like it when you are able to drive down a smooth road or have your packages arrive in a timely fashion or have the police or fire rescue personnel arrive quickly after you place a call. The people who make a choice to serve the public do it so those things are available for you. If you really think you could do all those things better and more cheaply by yourself, be my guest.

  15. OrchidMom Says:

    Big Daddy, you’re my hero.


  16. Not my child's future Says:

    I have 2 children in PB County public school. I’m going to move my children to private school and dispute paying my property taxes going to state education program.

    You here that post, that don’t have kids.

    Straight up, I’ll be getting some street justice next time I see Tea Baggers protesting.

    You Tea Bagger guys think you should have a say in my kids future.

    Over my dead body.

    I see a Tea Bagger, I’ll be kicking their heads-in.

  17. Not my child's future Says:

    @Systematic Solution,

    You have a kid of your own anywhere in State of Florida school system?

  18. Bill W. Says:

    Seems like we voted in Jesse Ventura.

  19. Bill Neubauer Says:

    1. In consultation with teachers I have long contended that the education bureaucracy does more harm than good to education. Accordingly I don’t think that Scott has yet gone far enough.
    2. ANYBODY who had anything to do with the FCAT is to be condemned, not applauded. Ask a teacher. This static, robot-like device has a net effect of wasting teacher time which could be better used for creative teaching, which students deserve.

  20. OBIWAN Says:

    The DOE has a rich opportunities ahead with Student Success.

    Sounds like Fair liked FEA stuff more than GOV Rick Scott’s education agenda.

    He obviously hasn’t talked to GOV Rick Scott … he did not attempt to contact him before his stupid ‘termination’ letter when his term expired in 2010??

    Not the sign of a team player nor possessing any modest management skills… just what we gotta clean up in education.

    Let’s get to work!

  21. OBIWAN Says:

    Bill N.

    I have asked my teacher… and bedmate of 37 years.

    She teaches, her school teaches…

    They just use the FCAT as one of the student assessment tools… and in Martin County they just use the 3-4 days each year to do the testing.

    You have seen the worst ever use of any CAT in Palm Beach County. Loon Art Johnson during the 2004 Francis & Jeanne shut down curriculum just to teach “FCAT lookalike stuff”.

    We had to begin our class with a “sample FCAT”. We wasted 12 teaching days administering “Fall” “Winter” and “Spring” FCAt diagnostic prep tests…

    When the FCAT finally came the students were burnt out and flipped everyone off… as they should!!

    Elsewhere, the FCAT was just as good an assessment tool to improve education as dibbles, ACT, SAT, etc. for other grades!

  22. Lolina Says:

    Be afraid people, be very afraid! Rick Scott is going to ruin Florida! Thanks to all you voters for dropping the ball on this one!!!!

  23. Dissolve Says:

    This guy on the Education Commissino, NO ONE one this BOARD had ANY IDEA who he was or what he did? Probably nothing.

    HE WAS ALREADY OUT of OFFICE in DECEMEBER 2010! No one fired him. His term had EXPIRED 3 months ago and he just HUNG AROUND?

    What foolish babies in GOVT they think that we are supposed to take care of THEM OF LIFE? While they do NOTHING but screw up our economy?

    Heck, A STATEWIDE GRAND JURY allegedly just concluded that the BROWARD SCHOOL BOARD was so systematically corrupt and overspending that it should be DISSOLVED!

    What does the Broward School BOard do?

    NOTHING! We need to fight the TYRANNY of do nothing Beaurocrats telling us what to do all the time when they don’t follow their own rules!

  24. MarkMyWords Says:

    With Scott’s growing unpopularity…he’ll eventually deter your attention to the immigration issue.That’s always been a Republican politician’s favorite scapegoat and where people will actually unite together to spew their hatred. And pretty soon all these issues you’re upset about now will be forgotten. Because they have you believing that they’re actually going to do something about immigration. Why should they, though? It’s slave labor for all these rich politicians and industries. Wake Up!

  25. mess Says:

    Hey Lolina.

    Hate to tell ya’. Scott did not ruin FLORIDA’s economy or BLOAT all of our POLICE , FIRE RESCUE and Civil Service pensions to bankrupt us.

    Scott did not allow Judges, Civil Servants, Police and Fire rescue to retire after 20 years with a $700,000 penision payment like a Broward Fire Rescue guy just did. Scott did not start Double DIPPING scam of pensions, like Palm Beach Commisioner Arrogantson does or the PB AIrport director.

    This is basically legalized theft and it was Not SCOTT that did it.

    BUt he may be the one to start unwinding this meess.

  26. Cory Says:

    If someone has to pay taxes that go toward the school system then they deserve a say whether or not they have children.

  27. wrong problem Says:

    Mark my words. Fools are anti-immigration.

    That’s what made America what it is today, open minded diversity and immigrants with a burning desire to make a better life. You cam from an immigrant, they are only illegal now becasue the laws are ridiculous in this area.

    All of our real problems come from within. Wake up. Welfare, Lazy People, Unions, all internal, US Citizens.

    Bully’s like to pick on immigrants today because they know they cannot fight back.

    But not every one but most are great people, trying to feed their families and will OUTWORK any amercan 5-1 any day.

    Lazy slobs are your usual anti immigrant profile, they feel threatened by anyone who works and contributes so they pick on the weak among us. They are cowards.

  28. Cory Says:

    Being anti-illegal immigration is not the same as being “anti-immigration” and anyone who combines the two is the fool.

  29. Cory Says:

    Ah, that’s good. Teach your children violence toward those who don’t hold the same opinion as you do. Weren’t some people complaining about “dictatorship” earlier?

  30. Cory Says:

    LOL this IS my real name. Why don’t you be the strong man you say you are and post yours? Clearly you are not right in the head, though. Anyone want to take sides with “Not my child’s future” be my guest you’ll look as crazy as he is…

  31. Cory Says:

    Lol ok you do that, psycho. Let me ask postonpolitics, do you condone people threatening other people’s lives?

  32. Forget the meds today? Says:

    Poster #33 is clearly mentally unbalanced.

    I hope the post reports him to the authorities for making death threats.

    This is apparently the kind of thing the TeaBagger / Anti Immigration wacko did in arizona before he did it.

    This should be a discussion board not a board for what he / she is posting.

  33. Cory Says:

    Um, #39, Jared Loughner was no “teabagger”…he was a psycho. He also killed a Republican Judge to go along with the attempted murder of a democrat congresswoman. He didn’t even listen to talk radio or watch the news. His only youtube video was the flag burning. The books he read were mein kempf, communist manifesto etc. Not a tea bagger, but more like a Jessie Ventura conspiracy theorist.

  34. Can't we all just get along? Says:

    Anyhooo….’not my child’ needs anger management counselling. As for the story, is that an WAAAAAAHmbulance I hear in Tallahassee? Some do-nothing gets fired and throws a tantrum. End of story..

  35. Cory Says:

    LOL you haven’t even posted your first name yet and you’re telling me to post my last name. This is comical.

  36. No We Can't Get Along Says:

    As parent myself. Yea, someone trying to speak for other kids. They’ve way overstepped there bounds.

  37. Cory Says:

    Oh, but threatening to kill someone isn’t overstepping…lol what am I doing? I’m trying to reason with a psycho…I’m out, have fun everyone.

  38. who knows for sure? Says:

    One thing for sure, the Jared guy was a dangerous fruit loop and it seems like the guy threatening “cory is too” and he should be reported as a precaution/ danger to society.

    This is a discusion board about A Education Commission memeber who over-stayed his term by almost 4 months. So what if the governor told him to leave? His term was over.

    Regarding Jared….lots of different opiions out there…here is one from online….probably false though…no one knows what these homicidal freaks think but certainly the Tea-Bag hate messages got to him somehow.

    “….is investigating Jared Loughner the Arizona shooter for having direct ties to …. group called American Renaissance a right wing anti-Semite, anti-government group that supports the Tea Party cause and has Tea Party HQ —–advertising on its website.

  39. Tea Lady Says:

    Gov Scott is showing bold leadership consistent with the mandate given to him by Us The People.

    We The People voted for lower taxes and smaller government. And We Tea Partiers will ensure that this happens.

    What a Great Day for democracy .. to see our elected leaders fulfill their election mandates!

  40. Turns out I know you quite well Says:

    Tea Lady,

    Now you for sure don’t have kids.

    What gives you the right to speak for other children?

  41. Turns out I know you quite well Says:

    Tea Lady,

    How much money have you spent on plastic surgery?

    How many mortgage payments have you missed, because plastic surgery was more important to you?

  42. Cory Says:

    Eh, okay I’ll reply to #49.

    That quote you put up said they were investigating. Did they find any connections?

    The guy was a 9/11 truther. One friend of his, catie parker, he was a left winger. According to another friend, Olsen I believe his name was, he wasn’t either right wing or left wing and didn’t listen to talk raio or watch the news. Quite frankly what we do know he has been mentally disturbed for a long time(his college suggested he only come back after a mental examination). He also almost died of alcohol poisoning and it’s suspected he did hard drugs. If you ask me, he was just nuts and suffered from schizophrenia.

  43. hmmmmmmmm Says:

    Rick Scott is going to fix everything that is wrong?! The only ones who can fix things are ourselves. Education is NOT a priority to most as shown by their lack of involvement in local schools. I’m not saying they don’t want their child to be successful, they just don’t want to take any responsibility for it( and they wonder why most students won’t take responsibility for THEIR actions or lack their of). As a teacher I can say that it is less about the money, you don’t go into teaching or public service to get rich, and more about the lack of respect that is thrown at those who choose to spend their live helping children become better citizens, leaders, and role models. Of course there are some who less than stellar but you have that everywhere, look at Rick Scott’s own track record in business. It is not fair to condemn a whole population for the few bad apples, and the percentage is VERY low. As far as those who do not have children in school, it is their constituitional right to speak their mind BUT they forget those children are the ones who will be taking care of them very soon, some all ready are. Don’t you want them to have the best chance to be successful?

  44. theloneconsumer Says:

    And on behalf of the Democratic party, I want to thank Rick Scott for insuring the re-election of Obama.

  45. Searcher Says:

    OK, Scotth has pissed off all of the Teachers and a a good majority of parents will follow. Now, he has to go after a few new groups (police, fire, etc.) and that will fire those constituents up. It’s going to be a fun few years.

    OH, for the people that say it was the “other guys” that did all of that “stuff” before Scott was elected, please remember Florida has had Republican Governors and Legislature since 1999 (Jeb!)

  46. ShellGame Says:

    What is truly unfortunate about Mr. Scott is that he is taking a very valid ideology and applying it in all the wrong places. It is 100% ideology too, no nuance or shades of grey with him, this is never good. Some of this vitriol is actually applicable to the worst offenders: National entitlements/military, local governments, and some State governments. He bought the wrong office though, this state government is not the problem. The whole political culture in Florida strikes me as dominated by old xenophobic white people that think all the problems in the US are caused by other people. The reality is that they caused it and they like people that show then how to shift the blame.

  47. Study Abroad Says:

    Its your nice place for education and one other place for educations related to you like Study Abroad also a unique educations place .

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