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Monday, December 17, 2018

DeSantis appoints public education hating politician to lead its public schools

Richard Corcoran appointed to day to be the commissioner of education is a lot of things, but educator is not one of them. That however did not stop Ron DeSantis, who received 33,000 more votes than his opponent from appointing a man who while speaker of the house tried to dismantle a public education system that educates 84 percent of the state’s children (the rest being home schooled or who attend private schools.  In addition, while he was speaker he was also a foe of transparency and process ramming through train bills crated in the middle of the night in secrecy that often benefited his wife’s charter school. DeSantis looked at all this and said, yeah that’s the guy for me.

From Orlando Rising,

Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani declared that Richard Corcoran has “no professional background in education” in a letter to the Florida Board of Education urging it to conduct a national search before picking Florida’s next education commissioner…

… “With all due respect, Mr. Corcoran has no professional background in education beyond his intentional efforts to privatize our state’s public education system,” Eskamani stated in a letter sent to board members Monday.
She and other Democrats also set out a social media appeal to constituents to convince Board Chair MarvaJohnson and other board members to at least delay any decision until a national search could be conducted.
“He has spent his career demonizing teachers, building the state’s Republican party, and privatizing schools to send funds to private charters like the one run by his spouse,” Eskamani charged in her letter. “He also supports the arming of our teachers, a risky policy option that has been rejected by local school boards across the state.”
From WJCT,
A former House speaker who contemplated running for governor, then supported one of Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis' opponents in the Republican primary, is the incoming governor's pick to be education commissioner.
Prominent charter school advocates, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, are supporting Corcoran for the job. Some Democrats and the state's teacher's union have urged the board to conduct a search for an experienced educator rather than quickly hire an "out of work politician" for the job.
From the TCPalm
If you wanted to undermine public education in the state of Florida, here’s what you’d do:
First, curtail funding as much as possible. The cost of public education goes inexorably up, and if revenues don’t rise in tandem, you cripple the beast. You keep a lid on teacher pay; buildings deteriorate before they can be replaced; and parents and teachers dig ever-deeper into their own pockets to pay for basic supplies.
Next, require ever-more standardized testing and assessments — all in the name of “accountability,” of course. This forces public schools to "teach to the test" and robs educators of their ability to be innovative.
Society itself lends you a hand. With entrenched poverty and family dissolution at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder creating ever-more need, schools become overburdened. Parents who want more for their kids want out.
And there you are, with an escape plan.
He biggest rap on Corcoran, however, is that the man about to be crowned Florida's education commissioner isn't an actual educator.
“I understand the viewpoint that you don’t need to be a doctor to run a hospital,” said Martin County School Board chair Christia Li Roberts. “But you do need training as a hospital administrator to do the job effectively. I’m not sure what skills you have when being trained as a politician.”
Ah, but that training imparts key ideological skills — perhaps the most important of all.
For while DeSantis lauds Corcoran as a “reformer,” that’s not what this is about.
Corcoran isn’t here to reform.
He’s here to replace.
From the Florida Phoenix,
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis’s controversial pick for Florida Education Commissioner has sparked angry tweets, petitions and protests as critics call for a national search and a candidate with a background in education.
When the State Board of Education meets Monday to consider who should be appointed as Commissioner of Education, protesters may be there.
“Based on what I’ve seen, it is very unusual for a state not to go though some sort of national search,” said Kristen Amundson, president of the National Association of State Boards of Education.
But states have leeway to select an Education Commissioner, using assorted requirements, Amundson says. And not all commissioners or state school superintendents have education credentials, such as a backgrounds in classroom teaching or school administration.
Current Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has spent nearly 40 years in education, starting out as a classroom teacher. Likewise, former Commissioners Frank Brogan and John Winn, among others, had lengthy education backgrounds…
…DeSantis has recommended former House Speaker Richard Corcoran, 53, as Education Commissioner, to lead the nation’s third-largest K-12 school system. He’s an astute politician and attorney — he graduated from a small law school at Regent University, a private Christian university.
Corcoran has no formal education credentials, but in the Legislature, he championed nontraditional public charters operated by private groups and scholarship programs that allow public dollars for students to attend private schools…
…But groups including the Florida Education Association and League of Women Voters of Florida oppose putting Corcoran in the position without a national search for the best candidate with education credentials.
Overall, the Florida Education Association has been highly critical of Corcoran.
In an email to the Florida Phoenix, FEA President Fedrick Ingram said: “Richard Corcoran is not the right candidate for the job. Time and again as House speaker, he demonstrated open hostility for public education —  starving public schools of funds, pushing for charter schools and privatization at the expense of our traditional neighborhood schools. Corcoran lacks experience in education. He’s a political insider.”
From the St. Augustine Record,
Let’s not beat around the political bush: Putting former House Speaker Richard Corcoran in charge of Florida education is like hiring Genghis Kahn to head the state Department of Corrections.
The charter school fox is heading for the Department of Education hen house and, for public schooling, that’s finger-lickin’ bad.

Corcoran is a coercer, a brawler and politician who rewards fealty while marking opponents for payback. Those who know him would say he’d be flattered by the description.

He came into politics through the back door. He ran for the House in 1998 in a district outside his own. He was dubbed a “carpetbagger” by the hometown newspaper. He lost.

But he became a rising star in the party machinery, and eventually became what many describe as a political “hitman” for Marco Rubio’s bid to gain House leadership in 2006. He was rewarded by being hired as Rubio’s chief of staff at $175,000 yearly salary — considerably more than his boss, who made $29,697 a year. The governor that year was paid around $130,000.

If this gives you pause in terms of state political priorities, go to the head of the class.

In 2007, Corcoran again ran for special election, this time in the Senate. He was again portrayed as a carpetbagger — and lost.

The third time was a charm, when Corcoran won a House seat in 2010.

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has made his pick known. But, on paper, the decision is up to the board of education — all GOP appointees, who probably like their current status.

DeSantis has made no bones about wanting to see public education dismantled, though you heard little of that during the governor campaign.
The bottom line, is this irresponsible pick is bad for Florida’s teachers, schools and students and only good for the bottom line of charter school operators which includes his wife.
Is this what my republican friends wanted? Because it’s what they got.

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