May 28, 2024


Education is everything you need

Manny Diaz Jr. confirmed as Florida education commissioner


The Condition Board of Education and learning on Friday confirmed Manny Diaz Jr., a Republican lawmaker from Hialeah and staunch college alternative advocate, as Florida’s following education and learning commissioner.

The 49-year-aged will take the helm of the condition Section of Instruction on June 1. At that time, Diaz mentioned he strategies to preserve his “foot on the pedal” on numerous training issues that Gov. Ron DeSantis and outgoing Instruction Commissioner Richard Corcoran have prioritized in the last 4 yrs.

“We just can’t be complacent,” Diaz stated. “The finest defense is to go on offense. We should generally be on offense, searching to enhance the lives of the college students of the state.”

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Diaz will come in as the condition Division of Instruction prepares to employ several contentious measures accredited by Republican lawmakers previously this 12 months. People include an overhaul of the state’s K-12 tests program, which Diaz says is a priority of his, and likely adjustments to instruction in grades 4 to 12 on problems of gender id and sexual orientation.

On the eve of Diaz’s affirmation listening to, DeSantis mentioned the Division of Education and learning will be supplying enter before long on what instruction would be viewed as “age-appropriate” for older grades on those subjects. In an job interview before this yr, Diaz stated he would carry out a “full review” of curriculum in those grades and “lay it out” for the Legislature for doable legislative motion.

DeSantis had stronger words, when he was requested about potential action, all through a Fox Information “Town Hall” on Thursday evening. He said, the “Florida Section of Training will be placing some meat on the bones” of Florida’s new “Parental Legal rights in Education” law, which critics have identified as the “don’t say gay” monthly bill.

A look at Diaz’s track record

The college lifestyle war fights that have grow to be so emblematic of DeSantis’ training agenda ended up not talked about a great deal throughout Diaz’s confirmation hearing.

Most of the concentration was on his time as a mentor, instructor and assistant principal in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the plan issues he used a 10 years fighting for in the Legislature.

For decades, Diaz has led the cost in growing the charter school sector and faculty vouchers, which fork out for college students to attend personal educational institutions. He has sponsored legislation to enhance Florida teachers’ minimal salaries to $47,500, a precedence for DeSantis given that he took workplace. And this yr, Diaz sponsored laws that limitations what can be taught about racism and other areas of heritage in the community educational institutions.

Some supporters introduced signals to the hearing contacting for publicly funded training personal savings accounts, which help family members shell out for private tuition and other fees. Final yr, Diaz sought to give that choice to family members.

Others praised his leadership design.

“He is the proper leader for this minute,” Miami Dade College or university President Madeline Pumariega told the board. “He has the knowledge not only in the classroom, but the legislative and policy practical experience and the higher instruction expertise.”

Monthly bill Montford, the head of the Florida Affiliation for District Faculty Superintendents and a former Democratic point out senator, agreed.

“He is a man of great integrity, he is a guy who will listen to opposing sights, and he will usually do what is best for learners,” he reported. “He is a very good male. He is specifically what we will need.”

Information from the guy he’s succeeding

Corcoran additional that Diaz’s legislative knowledge will be beneficial to him on the new occupation.

“On each individual go-to challenge we have had over the previous 4 periods, Manny Diaz has been entrance and centre on every single a person of them,” the previous Home speaker claimed.

His advice to Diaz: “Go out there and be Manny and keep executing what you are carrying out, because he has completed a heck of a great deal and he has designed us search very good over the previous four years.”

Diaz has deep-rooted ties with charter faculty operators. He is presently a prime govt at Doral Faculty, a private nonprofit establishment that delivers highly developed programs to charter colleges, and that is affiliated with Academica, a for-income contractor.

He pushed back that his close ties to charter universities will affect how he prospects the department.

“Look at the system of operate, legislatively, and in which I came from,” he stated, in reference to his time as a social experiments public university trainer and assistant principal at Hialeah-Miami Lakes. “Public educational institutions are crucial… We are going to concentration on the full factor.”

The board voted unanimously to affirm Diaz after a 50-moment board in the point out Capitol. He will be the to start with Hispanic commissioner of education and learning in Florida, which the governor’s workplace touted when DeSantis 1st built the advice.

The affirmation hearing was scheduled by the board last Friday, a working day soon after DeSantis advised Diaz for the task. The board did not perform a search for the state’s leading education and learning posture, marking the second time the board confirmed a DeSantis education and learning commissioner decide without having a look for.

Board Chair Tom Grady introduced Friday that Corcoran will be leaving the post effective May well 1. Jacob Oliva, the state’s K-12 chancellor, will serve as interim commissioner during the transition period, he mentioned.

Diaz will keep on to serve in the Senate by May perhaps, which signifies he will be collaborating in a special session to handle Florida’s failing assets insurance coverage market place that is established for May 23-27.

Diaz’s wage has not been decided. The board agreed to allow Grady to “coordinate all details connected with his employment” straight with Diaz.

This story was at first published April 29, 2022 12:26 PM.


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