Richard Corcoran Peddles Poppycock
We cannot count on Corcoran.
Recently sworn Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran has big plans for the destruction of public education in Florida.
Corcoran, the truculent representative from Land O’ Lakes, recently threw down the gauntlet to Florida’s teachers in a speech he delivered to the Florida House upon assuming his new post.
Corcoran likes to sound like he’s committed to ethics in government. He speaks at length about cracking down on the influence peddling industry that has become so ubiquitous in the Florida Capitol. He has also made a big show of tightening restrictions on lawmakers’ relationships with lobbying firms, along with a few other rules that any reasonable citizen would likely expect to already exist.
You can check out the nifty video Corcoran had his little elves produce for us common idiots below. Apparently, Corcoran & Co. think that the Florida electorate is composed of third graders.
What’s remarkable about Corcoran’s call for higher ethical standards in government is the absence of ethics in his tenacious drive to destroy public education in Florida.
Corcoran used his first speech from the speaker’s rostrum to monopolize the debate about vouchers and launch a shockingly myopic assault on the Florida Education Association. In a melodramatic appeal for support in his quest to liquidate public schools and the teachers who staff them, Corcoran went off the deep end:
And nowhere is the right thing to do more needed than in education. So I would like to issue a heartfelt challenge to our Democrat colleagues. The teachers union is fixated on halting innovation and competition in education. They are literally trying to destroy the lives of a hundred-thousand children. Most of them are minorities, and all of them are poor. It flies in the face of common sense and it defies every single study. It is downright evil. And I know that’s a strong word, but bear with me for one second.
If you were in a lifeboat, out at sea, and you see a small, hapless child swimming to another lifeboat, to save his or her life, who in their right mind would think the thing to do was to destroy that lifeboat, all because they’re not swimming to yours?
If anyone here witnessed that, what would you call it?
Tell the teachers union they are wrong! Tell them to stop the suit!
Let’s fight alongside each other. And let’s create an education system that isn’t afraid to innovate and take risks. Let’s partner together to ensure that all children of all races and all incomes are afforded a world-class education.
Corky’s masterful opener as Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives is worthy of a few views, if only to understand just how disingenuous he actually is.
It’s hard to decide where to begin when faced with such an opportunity as the one that Ol’ Rotten Ritchie so generously granted us in his diatribe against “the teachers union.” It’s probably best to jump around a bit. This may take some time.
Inconsistent and Capricious Corcoran
Let’s explore some key weaknesses in Corky’s confounding, doublespeak-laden sermon:
The worn out moral high ground argument, from a Florida crony, is like déjà vu all over again. Geez. “And nowhere is the right thing to do more needed than in education.” Corky wants us all to take our seats squarely on our own intellect, and just accept his brand of education policy, because it’s the right thing to do. Is it also the right thing to do to be your wife’s personal lawmaker-cum-lobbyist in Tallahassee whilst simultaneously limiting the power of other lobbyists across the board? Is doggedly campaigning for vouchers and charters at the expense of public schools in general also the right thing to do? Corcoran should answer those questions.
A Childish Challenge
So he challenges the Democratic party to abandon one of its most loyal groups of voters, a group that he went to fantastically hyperbolic lengths to vilify and defame. He implores the Democrats of the Florida House to “Tell the teachers union they are wrong! Tell them to stop the suit!” He obviously assumes that the Democrats have a great deal of influence over the Florida Education Association. Not so. The FEA is suing over vouchers camouflaged as “scholarships” because the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program is a flimsy front for an obvious attempt to divert public funds from public schools to private pockets.
Incidentally, Corcoran also eviscerated the judiciary for overreach and intrusion into the lawmaking prerogative of the house and senate. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Corcoran must be afraid that his and his cronies’ voucher scheme isn’t going to hold up to the scrutiny of the Florida Supreme Court. A lower court dismissed the FEA’s complaint on the very narrowly defined criterion that the FEA’s legal team failed to show damage done to the FEA’s members, and therefore lacked legal standing to file the suit.
Corcoran’s support for charters defies reality. Really.
Why on Earth would anyone buy Corcoran’s duplicitous contrivance? There is just too much to doubt about his rectitude, not to mention the success of the program if it is allowed to proliferate, unless we are willing to measure success in terms of taxpayer dollars leaving the public treasury and swelling private corporations’ bank accounts. Many charters have been miserable failures, and taxpayers have been left holding the bag.
In December of 2015, Gary Fineout and Terry Spencer of the Associated Press collaborated with Christina Veiga of the Miami Herald on an article that exposed just how ridiculously out of control Florida’s charter voucher scheme is.
According to the article, as of December 2015, some $70 million dollars had been dumped in the charter outhouse. Very little was ever recovered. It’s only gotten worse since. Five charters have closed just this past year in Pinellas county alone. This past September, Newpoint Pinellas Academy, a Clearwater charter middle school, shut down only six weeks into the 16-17 school year. It was the fourth Pinellas charter to close its doors this year. The others were Windsor Preparatory Academy, East Windsor Middle Academy, and University Preparatory Academy. Windsor Prep and East Windsor Middle were both operated by the same criminally indicted enterprise that operated Newpoint Pinellas Academy, Newpoint Education Partners. University Prep was “absorbed” by the Pinellas school district.
Just last week, Pinellas Westcoast Academy High School, another school once run by the aforementioned hack charter outfit, and formerly known as Newpoint Pinellas High, ended its operations, becoming the fifth. Last summer it sought a fresh chance after getting out from under Newpoint’s mismanagement, and gained a one year contract renewal, contingent on solvency, along with a new name. Things didn’t turn out so nicely for its 68 students, who now must scramble to find new schools to attend.
It’s really a lot worse than you can imagine.
And that’s just a cursory glance over at Pinellas’ charter nightmare. If you’re willing to look around the state, it gets a whole lot worse. The damage done by charters down in Broward and Palm Beach counties is disturbing. Numerous charters have closed and district-funded property has just disappeared. Again, taxpayers have been left to pay the bill. Across Florida, some 27 charters closed down in 2015. So far this year, 23 have closed across the state. The complete list of charters that have closed since so-called school choice began duping parents into risking their kids’ futures based on glossy brochures, exciting promises, and catchy, inspirational names, is truly hard to digest.
Corcoran has made a big show of charter school reform. That’s almost funny. Weren’t charters supposed to be part of public school reform?
The paucity of probity in Corcoran’s tirade came into full focus for anyone who has eyes that truly can see when he offered his poorly constructed, and even more poorly reasoned analogy about being “in a lifeboat at sea.” His audaciously invalid depiction of the FEA’s legal action was fantastically inaccurate in that it omitted at least a couple of elements necessary to fully appreciate the reality of the current relationship between “the teachers union” and education corporatizers.
A more valid analogy is in order. Here’s my humble offering to the Corkster:
Imagine a galleon (with hardly a gun on deck) in a storm at sea, deteriorating rapidly because of a lack of adequate maintenance, and beginning to list hard to starboard because of a rotting hull and a lack of ballast. It has been gradually overtaken by a mighty pirate ship, well maintained, and replete with the latest hardware of war. The pirate ship, a fast frigate, has been stalking the foundering ship for years, and is now sending volley after volley at it, eager to render it unmaneuverable, and to poach its vulnerable passengers, all of whom hold a considerable ransom value.
Ironically, the pirate ship is crewed by the very people charged with maintaining the galleon. The captain of the frigate is none other than the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.
The pirate ship is now alongside the galleon, and the captain now threatens a full broadside, in full daylight, in the hopes of landing a coup de grâce. How merciful of him indeed.
Meanwhile, the pirates, confident that they have crippled the ship, start to offer lifeboats to those who are jumping overboard in sheer desperation. The captain starts enticing the “hapless” kids to swim to the pirate ship. He promises a better life, or maybe just life itself.
The crew of the sinking galleon, desperately trying to save their ship, as well as the kids swimming away to their own demise, start to get loud and finally start to fight back. Their biggest problem is that they are, by law, all but unarmed.
The pirate captain announces that the crew of the sinking galleon is impeding progress. He impugns their character and says that because they know his scheme, they are trying to destroy lives.
He conveniently omits key details of his voyage, like the fact that in addition to his friends, his own wife (and by Florida law, he himself) own the “lifeboats” that he is encouraging the kids to swim toward. He conveniently omits the fact that he has consistently strangled efforts to keep the gallean afloat. He sees a lot of money in the sinking of the galleon, and he is keen to watch it go under.
He grabs his bullhorn and announces that anyone opposing him is evil. He declares that he thanks God for his opportunity to serve, and vilifies anyone who disagrees.
He implores the crew of the sinking ship to stop fighting. He proclaims that if they do not, they are “literally trying to destroy the lives” of children. He doesn’t mention that the children are the same ones whose ship he has refused to maintain, and whose ship he is, at that very moment, trying to sink once and for all. He doesn’t say a word about how obviously unseaworthy his “lifeboats” actually are. He doesn’t want the kids. He wants the money.
Can you see where I’m going here? Corcoran is a liar. He is a scammer. He is a fake.
I don’t have the time to further explore the extent to which Richard Corcoran is a scoundrel if I want to get this post up before summer. I will have to dissect the many inconsistencies and contradictions in his character and policy in another post.
Corcoran lives in a webbed world of dishonesty and impropriety, to say the least. Addressing that ripe fruit will take no small amount of time and effort. Rest assured, I have the time, and I will make the effort. Further analysis of his convoluted and inappropriate relationships with other public education wreckers is well warranted. His dog and pony show about raising ethical standards in the Florida House is nothing more than an attempt to distract us from his real agenda.
We’re going to need to keep a fast eye on this guy.