Billy Townsend reviews the tenure of Richard Corcoran as Florida’s State Commissioner of Education. His main qualification for the job, aside from his time as chair of the education committee in the state senate, is that he loathes public schools. He once said that he wanted to see every Florida student in a charter or voucher school.

Billy Townsend details his multiple failures. Be sure to open the link and read to the end. Watch the video, where Corcoran wrestles with his son on a brick floor, then throws him into the end of the pool, with the boy’s head barely missing the concrete coping. What an educator.

Townsend writes:

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s general leadership incompetence defines him far more than his trolling.

The Department of Education’s corrupt, ongoing institutional collapse under his three-ish years of leadership testifies to what he would have done (or will do) to any college or university foolish enough to make him a president.

Any “business” he might start that doesn’t grift public money or collect and/or spend other people’s political donations is going to fail — if he runs it.

But Corcoran did have two great talents in his short, happy public life:

  • Convincing powerful people to breathe some of their power on him.
  • Getting the weird Florida media to confuse trolling and leant power with actual power and leadership and capability.

More of the same, just with more trolling

It’s difficult to evaluate Corcoran’s record as Speaker of the House and Education Commissioner because he had no real governing goals or ideology beyond self-interest and the perception of personal dominance in the moment.

Just mesmerizing the child-like DeSantis into paying him $276K for three years is a massive personal victory for Corcoran. One has to acknowledge that.

But under Corcoran’s “leadership,” Florida continued Jeb Bush’s catastrophic, longstanding failures of student test score growth, if that’s what you care about. He continued to shovel tax money and tax-sheltered corporate money into Florida’s “Endtimes Academy” style voucher schools, ignoring the 60 percent 2-year drop out rate of our signature voucher program. And he continued to worsen Florida’s teacher and education worker capacity shortages by making education work as miserable and poorly paid as possible.

But in all that, Corcoran’s not special. He’s just a mainstream Florida leader who talks a little more trash. All of that education failure is openly tolerated and/or celebrated quietly by the private interests that actually run Florida — your Disneys and Publixes and FPLs.

Anybody else DeSantis would have appointed would have indulged the same neglect and general grifting. It’s the institutional story of the last 25 years. Until that changes, you’ll get the same institutional results.

Perhaps the DoE organization and building itselfwon’t be a rotten, corrupt cesspool with a more competent Jebbie in charge; but the Florida state system as a whole is America’s worst because institutional and governing power wants it to be. Corcoran doesn’t have much to do with that. He just looks to scavenge that reality for himself and his buddies.