"Complete bull," the former governor said in an email Tuesday, and wrote he was sorry Robinson was leaving.
Charlotte County School Board member Lee Swift was president of the Florida School Boards Association this summer when Robinson made remarks about the group’s anti-testing resolution that many members found condescending. But Swift also said Robinson may have been unfairly criticized for problems with Florida’s accountability system that occurred long before his arrival.
"What we have to focus on, I think, is really what happens in the future," Swift said. Robinson "was doing the bidding of the state Board of Education, and so it depends on what kind of message they want to send going out as to who comes in to replace him."
Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo said he hopes the next commissioner “is someone who fully understands Florida’s diversity and the benefits and challenges that accompany it.”
“Urban districts like ours that face unique conditions require more support and cooperation from the Department of Education,” Curbelo said in an email.
Shanahan said the seven-member board would work closely with the governor to select a new commissioner. Before the last selection, Scott called board members to lobby on Robinson’s behalf. The vote took six minutes and it was unanimous.
Activists like Solnet said Robinson’s resignation will not temper the concerns surrounding too much testing. The selection of Robinson’s successor also will be closely watched, Solnet said.
"The problem is, if they think this is going to quell the outcry and the criticism and the issues, it’s really not," she said, "unless they put someone in place who is willing to listen."
Tampa Bay Times staff writers Dan Sullivan, Marlene Sokol and Rebecca Catalanello, staff researcher Caryn Baird, Mary Ellen Klas, staff writer in the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, The News Service of Florida and Miami Herald staff writer Laura Isensee contributed to this report.