Florida Schools Commissioner Tony Bennett, who is currently revamping that state's grading system for school performance, apparently changed the grade of an Indiana charter school run by a major Republican donor while serving as Indiana school chief.
That's according to emails obtained by the Associated Press, which outline a series of conversations between Bennett and his staff after they discovered that Christel House, a charter school founded by Christel DeHaan, was about to get a "C" grade thanks to low 10th grade algebra scores. DeHaan gave $130,000 in contributions to Bennett, and over $2 million overall to Republicans since 1998.
It's not clear from the emails exactly what changed in the way the grades were calculated to successfully raise Christel House's ranking from a "C" to an "A." (According to the AP, the charter school's grade was raised twice in the process) The documents do show that, despite Bennett's claim that about a dozen schools benefitted from the overhaul, Christel House was at the front of the education department's mind, in no small part because Bennett had already told the charter school that they'd get a good grade under his system. Here's an email to that effect, from Bennett to his staff: