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Wow! big tony Bennett scandal

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  • Leonie Haimson
    Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 29, 2013
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      Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the Florida schools.

       

      http://shar.es/kUdCo

       

      Cronyism at work

       

       

      Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade

      By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP

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      Charter Schools, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Indiana, Charter Schools Indiana, Christel Dehaan, Jeb Bush, Politics News

      INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.

      Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."

      "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.

      The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.

      A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.

      Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other "combined" schools – those that included multiple grade levels – across the state.

      "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid."

      However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state legislative leaders.

      Other schools saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter was the catalyst for any changes.

      Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.

      Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, raising the stakes for schools statewide.

      Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.

      But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.

      "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Neal.

      Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."

      By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."

      A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.

      It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jumping twice.

      "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly," Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

      DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests that would affect Christel House's grades.

      Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the emails.

      Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.

      Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would have won re-election in Indiana.

      Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."

      Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an email that day.

      "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months."

      Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.

      When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Then-deputy chief of staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" change the cutoff for an "A."

      "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.

      Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned shortly afterward.

      He declined comment Monday.

      The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.

       

       

      Leonie Haimson

      Executive Director

      Class Size Matters

      124 Waverly Pl.

      New York, NY 10011

      212-674-7320

      leonie@...

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      http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

       

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      Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

       

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    • Ellen
      I wonder if he changed his grades when he was in K - 12 or college too? Sounds as though he may have had some experience.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 29, 2013
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        I wonder if he changed his grades when he was in K - 12 or college too? Sounds as though he may have had some experience.
        --- In nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com, "Leonie Haimson" <leonie@...> wrote:
        >
        > Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief
        > raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is
        > a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of
        > the Florida schools.
        >
        >
        >
        > http://shar.es/kUdCo
        >
        >
        >
        > Cronyism at work
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's
        > School's Grade
        >
        >
        > By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP
        >
        >
        > <http://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2F2013
        > %2F07%2F29%2Ftony-bennett-indiana_n_3672196.html&hl=en-US> Share on Google+
        >
        > tony bennett indiana
        >
        > 11 <javascript:void(0);>
        >
        > 22
        >
        > 0 <javascript:void(0)>
        >
        > 4 <javascript:void(0);>
        >
        > Get Politics Newsletters:
        >
        > Subscribe <javascript:void(0);>
        >
        > Follow:
        >
        > Charter Schools <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/charter-schools> , Tony
        > Bennett <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/tony-bennett> , Tony Bennett
        > Indiana <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/tony-bennett-indiana> , Charter
        > Schools Indiana <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/charter-schools-indiana>
        > , Christel Dehaan <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/christel-dehaan> , Jeb
        > Bush <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/jeb-bush> , Politics News
        > <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/politics>
        >
        > INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony
        > Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools
        > accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a
        > prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education
        > team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to
        > improve the school's marks.
        >
        > Emails obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled
        > last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an
        > "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."
        >
        > "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House
        > compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12
        > email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's
        > chief lobbyist.
        >
        > The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of
        > changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity
        > of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades
        > to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students
        > seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a
        > year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding
        > schools receive.
        >
        > A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers
        > elsewhere.
        >
        > Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's
        > education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that
        > DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the
        > charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for
        > other "combined" schools - those that included multiple grade levels -
        > across the state.
        >
        > "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give
        > Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure
        > the system was face valid."
        >
        > However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on
        > Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to
        > Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to
        > state legislative leaders.
        >
        > Other schools saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter
        > was the catalyst for any changes.
        >
        > Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch
        > Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican
        > leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs
        > for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school
        > superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other
        > policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.
        >
        > Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched
        > to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda,
        > raising the stakes for schools statewide.
        >
        > Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he
        > secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers,
        > including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.
        >
        > But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first
        > alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less
        > than an A.
        >
        > "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012
        > email to Neal.
        >
        > Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this
        > is resolved."
        >
        > By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."
        >
        > A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant
        > superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana
        > Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a
        > "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make
        > a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.
        >
        > It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading
        > formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jumping twice.
        >
        > "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly,"
        > Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said
        > in an interview with The Associated Press.
        >
        > DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis
        > in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said
        > in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests
        > that would affect Christel House's grades.
        >
        > Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the
        > emails.
        >
        > Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign
        > driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.
        >
        > Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for
        > DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he
        > would have won re-election in Indiana.
        >
        > Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about
        > DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible"
        > 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."
        >
        > Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an
        > email that day.
        >
        > "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come
        > to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for
        > me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six
        > months."
        >
        > Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured
        > top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading
        > system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.
        >
        > When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new
        > school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Then-deputy chief of
        > staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally"
        > change the cutoff for an "A."
        >
        > "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.
        >
        > Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its
        > "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned
        > shortly afterward.
        >
        > He declined comment Monday.
        >
        > The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how
        > many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this
        > article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Leonie Haimson
        >
        > Executive Director
        >
        > Class Size Matters
        >
        > 124 Waverly Pl.
        >
        > New York, NY 10011
        >
        > 212-674-7320
        >
        > <mailto:classsizematters@...> leonie@...
        >
        > <http://www.classsizematters.org/> www.classsizematters.org
        >
        > <http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/>
        > http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
        >
        >
        >
        > Make a <http://www.nycharities.org/donate/c_donate.asp?CharityCode=1757>
        > tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
        >
        >
        >
        > Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at <http://shar.es/wNbXk>
        > http://shar.es/wNbXk
        >
        > Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing
        > <mailto:nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>
        > nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
      • RichardEdBarr@...
        I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well. In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@att.net writes: Emails gotten by
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 29, 2013
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          I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well.
           
          In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
           

          Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the Florida schools.

          http://shar.es/kUdCo

          Cronyism at work

          Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade

          By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP

          http://plus.google.com/share?url=http://www.huffingtonpost.c om/2013/07/29/tony-bennett-indiana_n_3672196.html&hl=en-US

          tony bennett indiana

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          Charter Schools, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Indiana, Charter Schools Indiana, Christel Dehaan, Jeb Bush, Politics News

          INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.

          Ema ils obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."

          "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.

          The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.

          A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.

          Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other "combined" schools – those that included multiple grade levels – across the state.

          "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid."

          However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state legislative leaders.

          Other schoo ls saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter was the catalyst for any changes.

          Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.

          Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, raising the stakes for schools statewide.

          Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.

          But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.

          "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Neal.

          Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."

          By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."

          A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.

          It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jump ing twice.

          "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly," Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

          DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests that would affect Christel House's grades.

          Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the emails.

          Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.

          Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would have won re-election in Indiana.

          Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."

          Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an email that day.

          "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months."

          Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.

          When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Th en-deputy chief of staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" change the cutoff for an "A."

          "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.

          Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned shortly afterward.

          He declined comment Monday.

          The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.

          Leonie Haimson

          Executive Director

          Class Size Matters

          124 Waverly Pl.

          New York, NY 10011

          212-674-7320

          leonie@...

          www.classsizematters.org

          http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

          Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

          Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

          Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk

          Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

        • Leonie Haimson
          The other Tony Bennett is a wonderful singer AND a great supporter of NYC public schools. Leonie Haimson Executive Director Class Size Matters 124 Waverly Pl.
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 30, 2013
          • 0 Attachment

            The other Tony Bennett is a wonderful singer AND a great supporter of NYC public schools.

             

             

            Leonie Haimson

            Executive Director

            Class Size Matters

            124 Waverly Pl.

            New York, NY 10011

            212-674-7320

            leonie@...

            www.classsizematters.org

            http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

             

            Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

             

            Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

             

            Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk

            Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

             

            From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RichardEdBarr@...
            Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 8:13 PM
            To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Wow! big tony Bennett scandal

             

            I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well.

             

            In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:

             

            Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the Florida schools.

            http://shar.es/kUdCo

            Cronyism at work

            Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade

            By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP

            http://plus.google.com/share?url=http://www.huffingtonpost.c om/2013/07/29/tony-bennett-indiana_n_3672196.html&hl=en-US

            tony bennett indiana

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            Charter Schools, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Indiana, Charter Schools Indiana, Christel Dehaan, Jeb Bush, Politics News

            INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.

            Ema ils obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."

            "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.

            The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.

            A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.

            Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other "combined" schools – those that included multiple grade levels – across the state.

            "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid."

            However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state legislative leaders.

            Other schoo ls saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter was the catalyst for any changes.

            Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.

            Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, raising the stakes for schools statewide.

            Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.

            But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.

            "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Neal.

            Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."

            By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."

            A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.

            It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jump ing twice.

            "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly," Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

            DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests that would affect Christel House's grades.

            Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the emails.

            Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.

            Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would have won re-election in Indiana.

            Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."

            Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an email that day.

            "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months."

            Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.

            When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Th en-deputy chief of staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" change the cutoff for an "A."

            "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.

            Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned shortly afterward.

            He declined comment Monday.

            The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.

            Leonie Haimson

            Executive Director

            Class Size Matters

            124 Waverly Pl.

            New York, NY 10011

            212-674-7320

            leonie@...

            www.classsizematters.org

            http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

            Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

            Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

            Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk

            Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

          • robert bowen
            However, he was great friends with Billy Eckstein. Oneness, Rob ________________________________ From: RichardEdBarr@aol.com To:
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 30, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              However, he was great friends with Billy Eckstein.

              Oneness,
              Rob


              From: "RichardEdBarr@..." <RichardEdBarr@...>
              To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 8:12 PM
              Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Wow! big tony Bennett scandal

              I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well.
               
              In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
               
              Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the Florida schools.
              Cronyism at work

              Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade

              By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP
              http://plus.google.com/share?url=http://www.huffingtonpost.c om/2013/07/29/tony-bennett-indiana_n_3672196.html&hl=en-US
              tony bennett indiana
              22
              Get Politics Newsletters:
              Follow:
              INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.
              Ema ils obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."
              "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.
              The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.
              A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.
              Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other "combined" schools – those that included multiple grade levels – across the state.
              "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid."
              However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state legislative leaders.
              Other schoo ls saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter was the catalyst for any changes.
              Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.
              Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, raising the stakes for schools statewide.
              Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.
              But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.
              "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Neal.
              Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."
              By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."
              A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.
              It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jump ing twice.
              "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly," Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
              DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests that would affect Christel House's grades.
              Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the emails.
              Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.
              Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would have won re-election in Indiana.
              Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."
              Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an email that day.
              "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months."
              Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.
              When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Th en-deputy chief of staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" change the cutoff for an "A."
              "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.
              Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned shortly afterward.
              He declined comment Monday.
              The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.
              Leonie Haimson
              Executive Director
              Class Size Matters
              124 Waverly Pl.
              New York, NY 10011
              212-674-7320
              Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
              Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
              Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk
              Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


            • John M. Beam
              Cool. Dueling Tony Bennetts. We ought to be able to build some sort of fund raiser around that. JMB ... Cool. Dueling Tony Bennetts. We ought to be able to
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 30, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                Cool.  Dueling Tony Bennetts.  We ought to be able to build some sort of fund raiser around that.   JMB

                At 10:17 AM 7/30/2013 -0400, you wrote:
                 

                The other Tony Bennett is a wonderful singer AND a great supporter of NYC public schools.

                 

                 

                Leonie Haimson

                Executive Director

                Class Size Matters

                124 Waverly Pl.

                New York, NY 10011

                212-674-7320

                leonie@...

                www.classsizematters.org

                http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                 

                Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                 

                Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                 

                Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk

                Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                 

                From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [ mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RichardEdBarr@...
                Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 8:13 PM
                To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Wow! big tony Bennett scandal

                 

                I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well.

                 

                In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
                 

                Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the Florida schools.

                http://shar.es/kUdCo

                Cronyism at work


                Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade




                By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP

                http://plus.google.com/share?url=http://www.huffingtonpost.c om

                tony bennett indiana
                11
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                Charter Schools, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Indiana, Charter Schools Indiana, Christel Dehaan, Jeb Bush, Politics News
                INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.

                Ema ils obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."
                "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.
                The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.
                A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.

                Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other "combined" schools – those thhat included multiple grade levels – across the state.>
                "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid."
                However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state legislative leaders.
                Other schoo ls saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter was the catalyst for any changes.

                Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.
                Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, raising the stakes for schools statewide.

                Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.
                But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.
                "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Neal.

                Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."
                By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."
                A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.
                It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jump ing twice.
                "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly," Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

                DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests that would affect Christel House's grades.

                Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the emails.
                Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.

                Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would have won re-election in Indiana.
                Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."

                Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an email that day.
                "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months."

                Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.
                When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Th en-deputy chief of staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" change the cutoff for an "A."
                "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.
                Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned shortly afterward.
                He declined comment Monday.
                The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.

                Leonie Haimson
                Executive Director
                Class Size Matters
                124 Waverly Pl.
                New York, NY 10011
                212-674-7320

                leonie@...

                www.classsizematters.org

                http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
                Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
                Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
                Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk
                Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


              • Kari Steeves
                They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work, Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email... I
                Message 7 of 8 , Jul 30, 2013
                • 0 Attachment
                  "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House 
                  compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 
                  email... 
                  I guess "accountability" should be in quotes--the big kind you make with your fingers--and as anonymous points out, sung.
                  8-\


                  Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:55 am (PDT) . Posted by:

                  I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well.


                  In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
                  leonie@... writes:

                  Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief 
                  raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a 
                  favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the 
                  Florida schools. 
                  http://shar. es/kUdCo 
                  Cronyism at work 
                  Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP 
                  Donor's School's Grade 
                  By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT 
                  (http://plus. google.com/ share?url= http://www. huffingtonpost. c 
                  om/2013/07/29/ tony-bennett- indiana_n_ 3672196.html&hl= en-US) 

                  11 
                  22 


                  Get Politics Newsletters: 
                  Subscribe 
                  Follow: 
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                  , _Tony Bennett_ (http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ news/tony- bennett) , _Tony 
                  Bennett Indiana_ (http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ news/tony- bennett-indiana) , 
                  _Charter Schools Indiana_ 
                  (http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ news/charter- schools-indiana) , _Christel Dehaan_ 
                  (http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ news/christel- dehaan) , _Jeb Bush_ (http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ news/jeb- bush) , 
                  _Politics News_ (http://www.huffingt onpost.com/ politics
                  INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony 
                  Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools 
                  accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent 
                  Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett' s education team 
                  frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the 
                  school's marks. 
                  Ema ils obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff 
                  scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received 
                  an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a 
                  "C." 
                  "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House 
                  compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 
                  email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief 
                  lobbyist. 
                  The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of 
                  changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity 
                  of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades 
                  to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether 
                  students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first 
                  spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding 
                  schools receive. 
                  A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers 
                  elsewhere. 
                  Bennett, who now is reworking Florida' s grading system as that state's 
                  education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that 
                  DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the 
                  charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other 
                  "combined" ; schools – those that included multiple grade levels – across 
                  the state. 
                  "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give 
                  Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the 
                  system was face valid." 
                  However, the emails clearly show Bennett' s staff was intensely focused on 
                  Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to 
                  Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state 
                  legislative leaders. 
                  Other schoo ls saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's 
                  charter was the catalyst for any changes. 
                  Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch 
                  Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican 
                  leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs 
                  for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school 
                  superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies 
                  enacted by Bennett in Indiana. 
                  Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched 
                  to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, 
                  raising the stakes for schools statewide. 
                  Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he 
                  secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, 
                  including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long. 
                  But trouble loomed when Indiana' s then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first 
                  alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less 
                  than an A. 
                  "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 
                  email to Neal. 
                  Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until 
                  this is resolved." 
                  By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C." 
                  A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant 
                  superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana 
                  Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to 
                  an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high 
                  "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House. 
                  It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading 
                  formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jump ing twice. 
                  "That&# 39;s like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that 
                  significantly, " Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, 
                  said in an interview with The Associated Press. 
                  DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in 
                  Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, 
                  said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any 
                  requests that would affect Christel House's grades. 
                  Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the 
                  emails. 
                  Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign 
                  driven by teachers angered by Bennett' s education agenda. 
                  Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for 
                  DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would 
                  have won re-election in Indiana. 
                  Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about 
                  DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" ; 
                  10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school." 
                  Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an 
                  email that day. 
                  "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come 
                  to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations 
                  for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past 
                  six months." 
                  Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured 
                  top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading 
                  system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises. 
                  When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new 
                  school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Th en-deputy chief of 
                  staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" 
                  change the cutoff for an "A." 
                  "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded. 
                  Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House 
                  its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned 
                  shortly afterward. 
                  He declined comment Monday. 
                  The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how 
                  many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this 
                  article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed. 
                  Leonie Haimson 
                  Executive Director 
                  Class Size Matters 
                  124 Waverly Pl. 
                  New York, NY 10011 
                  212-674-7320 
                  _leonie@classsizema tters.org_ (mailto:classsizematters@ gmail.com
                  _www.classsizematte rs.org_ (http://www.classsiz ematters. org/
                  _http://nycpublicsch oolparents. blogspot. com_ 
                  (http://nycpublicsch oolparents. blogspot. com/
                  Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson 
                  Make a _tax-deductible contribution_ 
                  (http://www.nycharit ies.org/donate/ c_donate. asp?CharityCode= 1757) to Class Size Matters now! 
                  Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at http://shar. es/wNbXk 
                  Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing 
                  _nyceducationnews- subscribe@ yahoogroups. com_ (mailto:nyceducationnews- subscribe@ yahoogroups. com
                • Lynne Winderbaum
                  Actually a great Idea for Tony Bennett s next Duet album collaboration.But I just want to say on behalf of all of my colleagues who are now to be evaluated
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jul 30, 2013
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                    Actually a great Idea for Tony Bennett's next "Duet" album collaboration.
                    But I just want to say on behalf of all of my colleagues who are now to be evaluated by a matrix, algorithms, and unreliable test scores; despite the fact that they work so hard with their students, take on all the challenges of teaching students with special needs, inspire and are loved by their students, and have made a dedicated career of teaching: 

                    "They need to understand that anything less than an A ...compromises all of our accountability work," 

                    Will that fly or do we have to contribute to someone?


                    To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                    From: John_Beam@...
                    Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2013 10:39:46 -0400
                    Subject: RE: [nyceducationnews] Wow! big tony Bennett scandal

                     
                    Cool.  Dueling Tony Bennetts.  We ought to be able to build some sort of fund raiser around that.   JMB

                    At 10:17 AM 7/30/2013 -0400, you wrote:

                     

                    The other Tony Bennett is a wonderful singer AND a great supporter of NYC public schools.

                     

                     

                    Leonie Haimson

                    Executive Director

                    Class Size Matters

                    124 Waverly Pl.

                    New York, NY 10011

                    212-674-7320

                    leonie@...

                    www.classsizematters.org

                    http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

                     

                    Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

                     

                    Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

                     

                    Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk

                    Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

                     

                    From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [ mailto:nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of RichardEdBarr@...
                    Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 8:13 PM
                    To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Wow! big tony Bennett scandal

                     

                    I always thought he was overrated as a singer as well.

                     

                    In a message dated 7/29/2013 4:13:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, leonie@... writes:
                     

                    Emails gotten by the AP reveal that Tony Bennett when IN schools chief raised the grade of the charter school run by the top GOP Donor; Bennett is a favorite of Jeb Bush and the Corp reform crowd and is currently head of the Florida schools.

                    http://shar.es/kUdCo

                    Cronyism at work


                    Tony Bennett, Former Indiana School Superintendent, Changed Top GOP Donor's School's Grade




                    By TOM LoBIANCO 07/29/13 03:09 PM ET EDT AP

                    http://plus.google.com/share?url=http://www.huffingtonpost.c om

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                    Charter Schools, Tony Bennett, Tony Bennett Indiana, Charter Schools Indiana, Christel Dehaan, Jeb Bush, Politics News
                    INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett built his national star by promising to hold "failing" schools accountable. But when it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature "A-F" school grading system to improve the school's marks.

                    Ema ils obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan's school received an "A," despite poor test scores in algebra that initially earned it a "C."
                    "They need to understand that anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12 email to then-chief of staff Heather Neal, who is now Gov. Mike Pence's chief lobbyist.
                    The emails, which also show Bennett discussed with staff the legality of changing just DeHaan's grade, raise unsettling questions about the validity of a grading system that has broad implications. Indiana uses the A-F grades to determine which schools get taken over by the state and whether students seeking state-funded vouchers to attend private school need to first spend a year in public school. They also help determine how much state funding schools receive.
                    A low grade also can detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere.

                    Bennett, who now is reworking Florida's grading system as that state's education commissioner, reviewed the emails Monday morning and denied that DeHaan's school received special treatment. He said discovering that the charter would receive a low grade raised broader concerns with grades for other "combined" schools – those thhat included multiple grade levels – across the state.>
                    "There was not a secret about this," he said. "This wasn't just to give Christel House an A. It was to make sure the system was right to make sure the system was face valid."
                    However, the emails clearly show Bennett's staff was intensely focused on Christel House, whose founder has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and thousands more to state legislative leaders.
                    Other schoo ls saw their grades change, but the emails show DeHaan's charter was the catalyst for any changes.

                    Bennett rocketed to prominence with the help of former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and a national network of Republican leaders and donors, such as DeHaan. Bennett is a co-founder of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a group consisting mostly of Republican state school superintendents pushing school vouchers, teacher merit pay and many other policies enacted by Bennett in Indiana.
                    Though Indiana had had a school ranking system since 1999, Bennett switched to the A-F system and made it a signature item of his education agenda, raising the stakes for schools statewide.

                    Bennett consistently cited Christel House as a top-performing school as he secured support for the measure from business groups and lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long.
                    But trouble loomed when Indiana's then-grading director, Jon Gubera, first alerted Bennett on Sept. 12 that the Christel House Academy had scored less than an A.
                    "This will be a HUGE problem for us," Bennett wrote in a Sept. 12, 2012 email to Neal.

                    Neal fired back a few minutes later, "Oh, crap. We cannot release until this is resolved."
                    By Sept. 13, Gubera unveiled it was a 2.9, or a "C."
                    A weeklong behind-the-scenes scramble ensued among Bennett, assistant superintendent Dale Chu, Gubera, Neal and other top staff at the Indiana Department of Education. They examined ways to lift Christel House from a "C" to an "A," including adjusting the presentation of color charts to make a high "B" look like an "A" and changing the grade just for Christel House.
                    It's not clear from the emails exactly how Gubera changed the grading formula, but they do show DeHaan's grade jump ing twice.
                    "That's like parting the Red Sea to get numbers to move that significantly," Jeff Butts, superintendent of Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis, said in an interview with The Associated Press.

                    DeHaan, who opened the Christel House Academy charter school in Indianapolis in 2002 and has since opened schools in India, Mexico and South Africa, said in a statement Monday that no one from the school ever made any requests that would affect Christel House's grades.

                    Current Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz's office declined comment on the emails.
                    Ritz, a Democrat, defeated Bennett in November with a grass-roots campaign driven by teachers angered by Bennett's education agenda.

                    Bennett said Monday he felt no special pressure to deliver an "A" for DeHaan. Instead, he argued, if he had paid more attention to politics he would have won re-election in Indiana.
                    Yet Bennett wrote to staff twice in four days, directly inquiring about DeHaan's status. Gubera broke the news after the second note that "terrible" 10th grade algebra results had "dragged down their entire school."

                    Bennett called the situation "very frustrating and disappointing" in an email that day.
                    "I am more than a little miffed about this," Bennett wrote. "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months."

                    Bennett said Monday that email expressed his frustration at having assured top-performing schools like DeHaan's would be recognized in the grading system, but coming away with a flawed formula that would undo his promises.
                    When requested a status update Sept. 14, his staff alerted him that the new school grade, a 3.50, was painfully close to an "A." Th en-deputy chief of staff Marcie Brown wrote that the state might not be able to "legally" change the cutoff for an "A."
                    "We can revise the rule," Bennett responded.
                    Over the next week, his top staff worked arduously to get Christel House its "A." By Sept. 21, Christel House had jumped to a 3.75. Gubera resigned shortly afterward.
                    He declined comment Monday.
                    The emails don't detail what Gubera changed in the school formula or how many schools were affected. Indiana education experts consulted for this article said they weren't aware the formula had been changed.

                    Leonie Haimson
                    Executive Director
                    Class Size Matters
                    124 Waverly Pl.
                    New York, NY 10011
                    212-674-7320

                    leonie@...

                    www.classsizematters.org

                    http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com
                    Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson
                    Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!
                    Subscribe to Class Size Matters newsletter at  http://shar.es/wNbXk
                    Subscribe to NYC education list by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com



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