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FDOE Commissioner calls out feds on education grant rule change

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Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has vowed to fight changes to a US Department of Education rule that amends priorities and selection data for upcoming grants awarded under the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter Schools Program. The competitive grant program passed by Congress in 1994, and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton, awards grants that enable State departments of education to award subgrants to open new charter schools and to expand existing ones.

In an April 18 email Corcoran told U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona that he opposes the changes on grounds that they encourage profiteering and threaten school choice for parents in communities that are less affluent and underserved by traditional public schools.

“Florida’s long-standing support of school choice and charter school programs has been an incredible success,” Corcoran wrote in his email. “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.”

He also called on Cardona to review and reconsider the proposed rule change and reconsider.

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“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,” Corcoran wrote.

Corcoran’s official comments were also submitted for inclusion with other comments on the rule change posted in the Federal Register.

The deadline for submitting those comments was April 18.

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