New education commissioner takes action to reduce certification backlog

Posted on February 4, 2019 by Staff reports

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on January 29 announced his plan to eliminate the significant educator certification backlog.

Since the Florida Department of Education implemented its new educator certification system in November 2017, the wait time for certificate processing has increased and the number of educator certificates issued dropped by 55 percent, from 70,166 in 2016-17 to 31,397 in 2017-18.

Addressing this issue is a top priority, and the department will eliminate the backlog within 120 days. To meet this goal, the Commissioner ordered a review of the current operating procedures and immediately implemented the following actions:

  • Addressed a leadership deficit in the Bureau of Educator Certification;
  • Assigned 6 new staff members to the bureau to quickly reduce the application time and clear the backlog;
  • Designated a single point of contact within the department for superintendents to report any issues they encounter, which will be immediately addressed; and
  • Issued guidance to district superintendents allowing them to submit the names of applications that need to be prioritized, which the department will immediately address.  

“Upon taking the helm, I became aware of an inefficiency and began immediately developing solutions. These unreasonable wait times for our school teachers are unacceptable, and this stops today. Governor DeSantis asked me to ensure the Department operates in an efficient and accountable manner and these actions demonstrate my commitment to honoring that request,” said Corcoran.

 Corcoran had served as Florida’s Speaker of the House for two years before he was named Education Commissioner in December 2018.