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UPDATED WITH TONY BENNETT REACTION, PLUS FROM INDY LEADERS FROM AWA. AUDIO/VIDEO OF BENNETT’S RESIGNATION STATEMENT: Blaming “malicious reports from Indiana” Dr. Tony Bennett has resigned as Commissioner of Education for the State of Florida. Bennett’s dramatic resignation and fall from grace occurred just three days after news broke that the former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction had ordered the accountability grade changed for an Indianapolis charter school run by a major campaign contributor.  Speaking to media from his office in Tallahassee, Bennett blasted the reports from Indiana and asked for an investigation by Indiana’s Inspector General.  Bennett said he was quitting so that the reports from Indiana wouldn’t be “a distraction” to the work of improving education in Florida. This stunning fall from grace from Bennett was the aftermath of the story that broke Monday that Bennett changed the grade of Indianapolis Charter School Christel House Academy from a “C” to an “A”. In addition, the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Bennett’s wife had been hired several months ago to work for Charter Schools USA, which receives millions from Indiana to run three IPS takeover schools. On the Friday, Amos & Abdul on AM1310 The Light, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, a good friend of Bennett and his wife, gave a different explanation of Bennett’s wife’s job. Abadul also told Amos and listeners about Bennett’s mood after his resignation and why he did resigned. On Thursday’s Afternoons with Amos reaction to Bennett’s sudden fall was swift. Indiana House Minority Leader Rep. Scott Pelath weighed in on the bennett scandal saying there needed to be changes in Indiana’s school accountability grading system. Pelath was joined in that call by Rick Muir, President of AFT/Indiana one of Indiana’s teacher union organizations.  Indianapolis parent advocate Delana Ma weighed in with a parents perspective on the scandal while attorney and education advocate with the Indianapolis NAACP Rod Bohannon talked about disparity of treatment that the Christel House charter received from Bennett to how IPS takeover schools were treated.  meanwhile, Gov. Mike Pence has asked the Indiana Department of Education to “complete a thorough and timely review of of the questions surrounding the 2011-2012 A-F letter grades”. And make a report to the August State Board of Education meeting. Listen to Rep. Pelath, Mr. Muir, Ms. Ma and Mr. Bohannon’s comments below. And listen to audio of Dr. Bennett’s resignation statement and news conference and see video of his resignation statement below.  On Tuesday’s Afternoons with Amos the reporter that broke the story, Tom LoBianco of the Associated Press was interviewed, along with three top Indianapolis education leaders and activists. The incident which involved the former state schools chief was documented through e-mails obtained from the Indiana Department of Education shows that last September concern had been raised by Bennett that Christel House, a charter school founded by philanthropist Christel DeHaan wasn’t achieving the academic success that Bennett had bragged about to legislators, business leaders and the public.  Bennett ordered his staff to come up with a way that the state’s controversial school A-F grading formula could be changed to get the charter school to an “A” grade.  Those changes were made and benefited other schools.  At the time this occurred, in September 2012, The Department of Education had delayed the normal early fall release of the state’s accountability grades.  Now, these reports tell us what really happened. Media reports don’t indicate that DeHaan, a respected civic and business leader and strong proponent of educational choice directly asked Bennett or other education officials to raise her school’s state mandated grade. Interviewed on Afternoons with Amos was Tom LoBianco, the Indiana Associated Press Reporter who broke the Bennett story (along with the story of former Gov. Mitch Daniels attempt to censor a textbook). Also reacting to the scandal was African-American education advocate Carole Craig; David Harris, President/CEO of The Mind Trust a major education reform group who also headed Indianapolis charter school efforts and helped approved Christel House charter. And Justin Ohlemiller head of the parents advocacy group Stand for Children/Indiana. Click Arrow to Hear Abdul Hakim-Shabazz Explanation of Bennett’s wife’s job and Tony Bennett’s Mood After Resignation. Runs 4 Minutes. ©2013 WTLC/Radio One.   Click the Arrows Below to Hear Thursday’s Reaction to Tony Bennett’s resignation from Rep. Scott Pelath, AFT/Indiana’s Rick Muir, parent activity Delana Ma and NAACP’s Rod Bohannon. Runs 31 Minutes.    Click the Arrow to Hear Audio of Bennett’s resignation and press conference. Runs 17 Minutes (beeps you hear are calls dropping into/out of conference call).  Click Link to See Video of Bennett’s Resignation. Tony Bennett Resignation Video

Click the Arrows Below to Hear The Interviews and Reaction. ©2013 WTLC/Radio One.  AP’s Tom LoBianco. Runs 8 Minutes.    Carole Craig Runs 9 Minutes.     David Harris Runs 12 Minutes.      Justin Ohlemiller Runs 10 Minutes