Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s amoral leadership

Just in case you didn’t know it Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is not an educator, he’s a legislator that championed charter school bills that benefited him and his wife who runs charter schools. Since we live in Florida this is okay, most decent places wouldn’t entertain something like this. 

At the recent State Board of Education, ironically a group also devoid of educators, Corcoran on the job for five months went after a superintendent who started as a teacher who then after two plus decades moved to become the superintendent of Duval County, one of the biggest districts in the nation. 

During the meeting where he was both condescending and rude he made several outrageous claims and assertions.

From the Tampa Times:

Duval superintendent Diana Greene told the board that she was committed to working with the state, but that she also had to devise plans acceptable to her community. She laid out a vision for improvements that some on the board called “bold.” 

(Board member_ Grady was nonplussed, saying he wanted to see results, and not just receive promises of positivity and collaboration. He signaled a willingness to wait and see. 

Corcoran was not so charitable. He blistered Greene for what he called a “travesty of justice” for children who deserve better. 

The commissioner repeatedly asked the superintendent why she had not stepped forward to adopt a “Schools of Hope” charter operator, IDEA Academy, as an outside operator for the most struggling schools that Greene said still do not look likely to improve their state grades. 

Corcoran championed the “Schools of Hope” program, which eases the path for state-approved charter school providers to open in high-poverty communities, while House speaker. 

Duval should “go aggressively in another direction,” Corcoran said, adding, “Are you afraid of the competition?” 

Greene, visibly annoyed, pushed back. She said her district had 40 charter schools already, and that the community did not prefer IDEA. She added that she had been in her current job for only 10 months, and had seen enough to know in her professional judgment that the schools can improve without taking the step that Corcoran advocated. 

“I have seen what is going on in the school district,” she said. “It has the ability to turn it around.”

Um we have a school of hope already in Jacksonville, the KIPP school and to say it was lackluster wouldn’t be an understatement and neither would it be to say it is expensive. This school alone got an extra two million dollars inserted into the state budget because reasons.  There is no reason to think the IDEA charter school would do any better.

Then speaking of a travesty of justice, well that pretty much sums up Corcoran’s entire career. As he has meandered from living high on the hog on the republican corporate card to ramming through legislation that personally benefits his family.

Then he while rigging the game time and time again in favor of charter schools has the chutzpah to ask Greene if she is afraid of a little competition. Well the truth is Corcoran and his school choice pals on the state board and elsewhere are afraid of playing a fair game because they know they will loose. 

Finally Corcoran gave a preview of next years big bill and that’s one that allows him to decide what schools can be taken over by charters.

From Florida Trend,

“What do you do when you have a district that has 21 schools in D or F and on the verge of constant turnaround? In turnaround, out of turnaround. You’re talking about generations of kids,” the former House speaker explained after the meeting. “At what point do you say, ‘Maybe we should put them in receivership, maybe we should have legislation that allows us to go over there and take over.’”

At the end of the day Corcoran is as despicable as he is unqualified which is very.

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