State Board of Education schedules meeting to consider new education commissioner

by | Dec 10, 2018

Former state House Speaker Richard Corcoran could be named as Florida’s next education commissioner by the beginning of next week.

On Monday, the state Board of Education posted an agenda for a previously unscheduled meeting on the morning of Dec. 17. The agenda includes three items. The third item is is listed as “Consideration of the Appointment of Commissioner of Education.” The item provides no additional information.

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis made it apparent last week that he wants Corcoran to be in charge of Florida’s K-12 public school system. DeSantis announced Thursday afternoon that he’ll recommend Corcoran to serve as the next Florida Education Commissioner.

“I am proud to recommend Richard Corcoran for Florida Education Commissioner and know that he will put his experience and passion for the success of Florida’s students to work in this new role,” said DeSantis.

During his two years as speaker, Corcoran made education reform a centerpiece of his administration. He is a big supporter of school choice programs and in 2017 he pushd for passage of  the “Schools of Hope” program, which allows for the creation of more charter schools. Supporters of the program argue it will give parents and students an opportunity to transfer out of failing public schools. The controversial law was challenged in the courts by 13 local school boards. The lawsuit was dismissed by a circuit judge earlier this year.

The Board of Education wasn’t scheduled to meet again until after the first of the year. Current Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has submitted her resignation for Jan. 8, the day DeSantis is sworn-in as governor.

Corcoran’s likely appointment as education commissioner is opposed by the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers union which fought Corcoran’s education agenda when he was speaker.

On Friday, the League of Women Voters of Florida sent a letter to Board of Education Chairwoman Marva Johnson and the rest of the board, asking the board to launch a national search to replace Stewart. Johnson has suggested she is open to DeSantis’ selection of Corcoran as education commissioner.




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