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Florida's next education commissioner says parent and community involvement is key to closing achievement gaps

Photo: Manny Diaz
Photo: Manny Diaz

Republican Sen. Manny Diaz from Hialeah, about 12 miles outside Miami, is the new Florida Commissioner of Education. He will replace outgoing commissioner Richard Corcoran on June 1st.

WMFE’s Danielle Prieur spoke with Diaz about his plans to close achievement gaps and slow the COVID slide in classrooms throughout the state.

Interview highlights

On slowing the COVID slide

"There's still a lag from COVID. And we need to play catch up and having using the resources that have been put in by the state and federal dollars, to make sure that we're advancing the agenda of getting those students back where they need to be providing opportunities for acceleration or remediation."

On the importance of parental involvement

"And so, with parents being engaged, I think that brings another element to our education system in Florida in which we want to make sure that parents have the proper opportunity to be engaged in their child's education, in school board meetings in school districts, and public education period."

On closing the achievement gap

"It's not from a lack of resources, because resources have been thrown at these problems for a long time in this country, and even in this state, but it's going in there and finding out what exactly are the needs of that particular community and how we can provide opportunity."

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.