“I actually like to floss.”
So many things have been said and written about Charles Anthony Bennett this past week. Reports surrounding his involvement in Indiana’s A-F grading system have been everywhere and extended well beyond the realm of education wonks. Seeing your close friends and former colleagues on the front pages is not new to me, but the speed at which folks’ existing impressions of Tony (positive or negative) have been repeated and reinforced across all venues is nonetheless a reminder that public service is not for the faint of heart.
Amidst all the commotion, I would suggest that the five words above—calmly spoken a couple years back over an early morning cup of coffee in the Indiana statehouse—illustrate exactly who Tony Bennett is.
K-12 education does not suffer from a lack of viable solutions to its challenges. Republicans and Democrats do not agree on all the finer points either within their own party or with their colleagues on the other side of the aisle, but the necessary changes (empowering and rewarding great teachers, holding schools accountable, providing robust choices to families) are relatively straightforward.
The issue has always been the political willpower to do what must be done. And that’s why Tony Bennett is a man whom individuals far more talented than myself have been willing to run through a wall for.
The man likes to floss.
Over the past several years, his children have graduated from great schools. He has