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Senate Approves Jeb Bush's Former Lt. Gov. for Top K-12 Job at Education Department


The U.S. Senate voted Monday to approve the nomination of Frank Brogan as assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education.

Brogan replaces Jason Botel, the acting assistant secretary who clashed with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., over implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. 

Brogan was elected Florida's commissioner of education in 1994, a gig he held until 1999, when he became lieutenant governor. He then served as Bush's lieutenant governor from 1999 to 2003. He has also held just about every possible job in K-12 education policy and instruction. He's also been a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools in Florida's Martin County.

As state chief in Florida, Brogan championed higher academic standards, including a push to require students to take Algebra I or a comparable math course in order to graduate. The plan also called for students to earn a 2.0 grade-point average on a four-point scale to graduate from high school, or to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities while they were in school.

He also supported using tax dollars for private schools, a priority for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Early in his tenure as Florida state chief, he proposed eliminating 350 jobs from the 1,500-person state education department. That's in line with DeVos' own push to slim down operations at the federal level.

Brogan also has extensive higher education experience. He was the president of Florida Atlantic University, and served as the chancellor of Florida's state higher education system from 2009 to 2013. After that, he served as chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. He announced plans to retire from that position last year, and was nominated for the top K-12 post at the education department in last December. 

Brogan has already been on hand at the department as a senior aide, serving as the acting assistant secretary for post-secondary education since late January. But now he'll be able to do the job he was nominated for. 

Photo: Frank Brogan, left, then Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor, chats with student Mary Butler  during move-in day at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., in 2014. (Markell DeLoatch/The Public Opinion via AP-File)

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