Sara Clements Provides Analysis on What to Expect from New Florida Education Commissioner

January 18, 2019

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McGuireWoods Consulting vice president, Sara Clements, anticipates action on charter schools, choice, career education and more from Florida’s new education commissioner, Richard Corcoran.

In a Jan. 18 article, Clements explored Commissioner Corcoran’s history and gave an overview of issues likely to surface in the coming years. Corcoran was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for the past two years, and reforming Florida’s K-12 education system was one of his top priorities.

“From recruiting out-of-state charter management organizations to allowing bullied students to attend private school using corporate tax credit funding, his tenure was certainly not without controversy,” Clements wrote. “But for those eager to give parents more options, he was, and is, seen as a champion.”

Corcoran now reports to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who campaigned on increasing educational choice.

“While we don’t know how their views align on every issue, it’s clear Governor DeSantis is comfortable with the kind of disruption Commissioner Corcoran is likely to bring,” Clements noted.

Clements gave an overview of seven issues likely to appear in Florida in the next few years, including expansion of choice programs, continued focus on recruitment and replication of high-performing charter schools, renewed focus on workforce pathways in high school, course correction on school turnaround, increase in fiscal transparency and accountability, revisiting teacher recruitment and retention and more and better information for parents.

“Regardless of the specific priorities that are taken up, one thing is clear: Florida’s new Commissioner will not be afraid to butt heads with systems or institutions if they are perceived to be at odds with efforts to promote high quality options for students,” Clements said.