Gerard Robinson Out After One Year as Head of Florida Education

By: Jim Turner | Posted: August 1, 2012 3:55 AM
Rick Scott and Gerald Robinson

Gov. Rick Scott and Education Commissioner Gerald Robinson

Gerard Robinson, who took over the state Department of Education last summer and would take some flak over a dramatic drop in school test grades, has submitted his resignation effective at the end of August.

Hired away from his post as Virginia's secretary of education, Robinson pointed to time away from his family for his decision in his resignation letter that also listed highlights of the state education system during the past year.

“Living away from my family has proven to be one challenge all this progress could not overcome,” Robinson wrote Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday.

Scott, whose agenda for 2012 included a greater emphasis on education, called Robinson a “tireless advocate for creating quality learning opportunities for all of Florida’s students.”

Not mentioned while the governor gave Robinson praise on Tuesday: In May, Scott’s office had to scramble to assist the education department, as the state Board of Education had to call an emergency meeting to lower the passing scores on 2012 FCAT writing exams after results tumbled from prior years.

The Florida Board of Education stated that under Robinson’s leadership, Florida’s school system has raised achievement levels for the first time in a decade, obtained a provisional flexibility waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act -- one of the first 11 states to receive notification -- and earned national recognition for accomplishments from early childhood learning to the Florida College System.

Robinson, the unanimous choice of the state Board of Education, earned his bachelor's degree at Howard University and his master's degree in education at Harvard University.

“The board is extremely grateful for Gerard’s leadership this past year,” Board Chairwoman Kathleen Shanahan stated in a release. “He has worked with the board as we have raised standards for our students and our schools. He is a leader who embodies and understands the importance of education reform. We wish him the best as he makes the decision that is best for his own young children.”

Robinson lists these highlights:

"For the first time in 10 years, the state Board of Education approved new achievement level scores for grades 3-10 in reading and grades 3-8 in mathematics on annual FCAT 2.0 assessments.

"Florida students who score a 262 or higher in achievement level four on FCAT 2.0 reading can enter one of our 28 Florida colleges without the need to enroll in a noncredit-bearing course in reading -- saving students, parents and taxpayers money in post-secondary remediation costs.

"The state Board of Education authorized the creation of a Florida 2.0 Digital Learning Group to create a template to fund and advance best practices for digital learning in our state.

"Adopted new competency and skill standards for STEM teachers taking Florida Teacher Certification Examinations.

"Florida earned a provisional No Child Left Behind waiver from the U.S. Department of Education.

"Partnered with Microsoft to create the nation’s first IT Academy Program focused on middle and high schools.

"Created a Just for Parents online portal to inform them about changes to the Florida school accountability system, and partnered with Hillsborough, Duval, Orange and Broward to send from me a personalized school grade telephone message to over 100,000 homes in each county."

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (1)

9:43AM AUG 1ST 2012
Another day, another couple of top Scott senior personnel leaving . . . . makes one wonder what Scott Shenanigans are a'coming.

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