Florida education commissioner resigns after 1 year on job

TALLAHASSEE —Gov. Rick Scott's choice to lead Florida schools, Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson, resigned Tuesday after about a year on the job.

Robinson, who came to the post in June 2011 after serving as Virginia's secretary of education, said he was tired of living apart from his family during what has proved a tumultuous year in Florida education.

Scott called Robinson a "tireless advocate for creating quality learning opportunities for all of Florida's students."

The governor added, "He will certainly be missed."

Robinson's tenure included overseeing a $1.3 billion cut to Florida schools during Scott's first year as governor, reductions that led to deep staffing reductions in Palm Beach County and many other school districts.

Lawmakers returned this spring to put $1 billion back into classrooms.

Then in June, a new grading formula for the required Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) led to a sharp decline in school grades, with the number of A-rated schools in Florida dropping from 58 percent to 48 percent.

Soon afterward, Scott said it may be time for the state to revisit the FCAT test, acknowledging that Florida students may be undergoing too much testing.

Robinson, whose last day will be Aug. 31, pointed to successes over the past year, including improvements in digital learning, a higher standard for prekindergarten children entering school and changes in the charter school application process.

"Together we have established a foundation for great things to come, and I am proud to have played a leadership role in this effort," Robinson said.

The state's Board of Education, which will be charged with appointing a new commissioner likely recommended by Scott, is not scheduled to meet again until October.

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