Commissioner Corcoran Expresses Grave Concerns to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Regarding Charter Schools

Press release from Florida Department of Education

Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran sent an email (see below) to Secretary Miguel Cardona of the United States Department of Education (USED) expressing his grave and serious concerns in regards to his department’s proposed amended priorities, requirements, definitions and selection criteria for upcoming grants issued under the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter Schools Program – a competitive federal grant program passed by Congress in 1994 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

Commissioner Corcoran also submitted Florida’s formal comment to the Federal Register.

Secretary Cardona:

I have recently been made aware of your agency’s proposed efforts to amend the priorities, requirements, definitions and selection criteria for upcoming grants issued under the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter Schools Program. Although these changes are certainly cloaked with noble intent—support for public education, improved racial equity, elimination of perceived profiteering—their facade is desperately misleading, and their practical impact will assuredly be disastrous to students, parents and communities served by thriving school choice programs throughout the country. To that end, I must insist you reconsider.

Speaking from my experience as a parent of six children, citizen, and the Commissioner of Education of the great State of Florida, the incontrovertible evidence outlined in the attached supporting memorandum makes it clear that Florida’s longstanding support of school choice and charter school programs has been an incredible success. Public charter schools not only serve as one of many forward-thinking alternatives to traditional public education—in itself, a victory for both students and parents—they also provide much-needed aid to less affluent, often homogenous communities underserved by traditional public schools, including students of color. Sadly, your proposed changes ignore the many data-backed successes of public charter education and abandon those served by public charter school operations, presumably in exchange for shortsighted political gain.

In closing, and considering our shared duty to protect and promote the educational successes of students, parents and communities at large, it is my hope that you will review this matter and reconsider. However, should you fail to do so, know that I will make every lawful effort to oppose these changes and, indeed, expose them for the partisan blunder they are.