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Corcoran Calls Out Teachers' Union For 'Evil' Voucher Lawsuit

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is gearing up for a fight with lobbyists, unions, and maybe even his own colleagues. Corcoran used his swearing in ceremony to go after the Florida Education Association's challenge to the state's de-facto school voucher program.

Florida’s teachers union has not given up on a lawsuit against the state’s corporate tax scholarship program, and it boiled over Tuesday into the Florida House. Speaker Richard Corcoran called the union’s lawsuit “evil” and called on House Democrats to oppose it:

“They are literally trying to destroy the lives of 100,000 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’s downright evil," Corcoran said.

He followed that up by urging House Democrats to stay out of the fight and reject proposals he believes could hurt the program. But that did not sit well with House Minority leader Janet Cruz.

“We don’t believe teachers are evil. We believe teachers do a good job," said Cruz. She says she was "shocked" and "disappointed" in Corcoran's comments.

In a post on facebook, Florida Education Association President Joanne McCall had a response to Corcoran.

"Hold your powder! We are going high as he goes low," she writes. "The Florida Education Association firmly believes that people of opposing views should always engage in civil debate on issues. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss with Speaker Corcoran the reasons FEA has engaged the court in the voucher program. We are here when and if the Speaker would like to hear from us."

Corcoran says he plans to pursue a free market approach to education, but what that would like has not emerged yet.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.
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