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A Scott/Bush Split On State Board Of Education

Photo courtesy of My Florida
Gov. Rick Scott's leadership was criticized by State Board of Education members with ties to former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Gov. Rick Scott's leadership was criticized by State Board of Education members with ties to former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Two State Board of Education members criticized Gov. Rick Scott's leadership on education issues Tuesday, highlighting a rift between Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Board members Kathleen Shanahan and Sally Bradshaw -- who served as former Bush chiefs of staff -- said Scott needed to show more leadership on Common Core State Standardsand other education issues.

The board is meeting in Palm Beach County today.

Shanahan said Scott did not attend a recent three-day education summit held in Clearwater and did not take any policy positions following the summit. Shanahan said she heard rumors that Scott would issue an education-related executive order and the board had not been consulted.

"It's embarrassing for him that he's disrespecting the statutory integrity of this board," she said. Shanahan said Florida education was in a "crisis," which drew disagreement from board chairman Gary Chartrand -- a Scott appointee -- and interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

Bradshaw said Scott had not provided strong leadership for Florida's new education standards, known as Common Core. Critics on both the political right and political left have criticized the quality of the standards, the cost and the amount of testing that will accompany the standards, among other complaints.

“Because the governor’s office has not given great direction on this, there’s uncertainty,” Bradshaw said.

She and other board members reiterated their support for the new standards, which outline what students should know at the end of each grade. The standards are scheduled to be fully used in Florida classrooms starting next fall.

Bush and Scott recently had dinner together in Miami, but its unclear exactly what they spoke about.

Bush remains a force in Florida education despite leaving office in 2007. Bush started two foundations which advocate for many of the policies he put in place while governor. He is also a prominent Common Core supporter.

Copyright 2013 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

John O’Connor is a reporter for StateImpact Florida, a project of WUSF, WLRN and NPR covering education. John writes for the StateImpact Florida blog and produces stories for air on Florida public radio stations.