Bennett seeks Indiana probe of grade-change emails

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Indiana schools chief Tony Bennett has asked the state's inspector general to investigate the Department of Education's actions during his tenure after resigning as Florida's education commissioner. And the Indiana governor is pushing a full investigation.

Tony Bennett's request Thursday followed an Associated Press story showing that Bennett and his staff scrambled to overhaul Indiana's school accountability formula after learning a charter school founded by a top Republican donor had received a C.

Bennett has denied any wrongdoing and says the formula change wasn't directed solely at Christel House Academy.

He resigned his Florida post Thursday, saying he didn't want the Indiana emails to distract from Florida's education efforts.

His letter to Indiana Inspector General David Thomas calls emails cited in the story a "small snapshot of a long, arduous and iterative process" of implementing Indiana's A-F grading.

Thursday afternoon, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence urged the Department of Education to complete a thorough review of the questions surrounding the 2011-2012 A-F letter grades and report their findings at the next State Board of Education meeting in August.

"After the Department of Education reports its findings to the State Board of Education, the Governor believes we will be able to make an informed decision about how we might best ensure public confidence in our A-F grading system going forward," Press Secretary Kara Brooks said.

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