ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran says teachers who refuse to return to the classroom because of COVID-19 concerns will be “terminated".
Corcoran made his case for Florida’s school reopening plan on FOX News Friday.
Not everyone is happy with his comments. The president of an Orange County teacher’s union is calling the commissioner a “bully”.
FOX News host Bill Hemmer asked Corcoran what will happen when teachers say, ‘I’m not going to show up.’
Corcoran responded, “Well, Florida has a very strong right to work state.”
He went on to say that the small numbers of teachers who refuse to report to work will be out of the job.
“Then they get terminated,” Corcoran said. “Governor DeSantis just led the largest single pay increase ever for teachers in the State of Florida so were not having a problem recruiting teachers come to sunny Florida, a low tax state with great educational opportunities.”
“Teachers have a contract and they have contractual rights. He doesn’t get to fire teachers,” said Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange County Classroom Teacher’s Association. “What a joke. That’s just not true. There is a shortage of teachers.”
One thing both can agree on is that, so far, teachers who are assigned to be back in the classroom have been showing up.
“We’ve already opened up more than a third of our districts. We have 65 percent of parents and students who have chosen to be face-to-face with their instructors, but even more enlightening is we have 95-100 percent of teachers who have shown up on that first day. They want to be back with their kids,” Corcoran said.
Orange County started face-to-face learning Friday.
Doromal says some teachers are feeling it out before deciding what to do next.
“I don’t know anyone that was assigned and did not go. I do know some people who resigned so they didn’t have to go or retired early,” she said.
The state teacher’s union is suing the Florida Department of Education over its directive to reopen all brick and mortar schools during the pandemic.