Again, when you are fighting to reform the system, you cannot afford to make minor mistakes. Unfortunately, for those of us that are hoping for the successful reform of our nation’s education system, those who have been given the opportunity to change the system are making significant mistakes. Recently, we covered that in an attempt to rewrite the Social Studies standards for Virginia, Governor Youngkin’s administration made major errors and omissions in their drafts, which were pointed out by leading educational organizations. Now, the new trustees of the New College of Florida have added to that embarrassment when they decided to hire an interim president and give him a massive increase in salary among other costly perks while the college reportedly has been struggling with finances.
When the new trustees were named, many had hoped that the small college, which currently has around 650 students, would be revamped and become a model for other colleges to follow. One of the first actions taken by the trustees was firing the president of the college, Patricia Okker, which was a justifiable action; the college has seen fewer and fewer students enroll, she was severely biased and left-leaning, and the finances of the college were getting worse and worse every year. Being that the finances of New College were one of the main reasons Okker was let go, it is absolutely absurd that her replacement is being paid nearly $400,000 more to oversee the small school, totaling his salary at $700,000. Additionally, according to Fox Tampa, the interim president, Richard Corcoran, also gets “an $84,000 housing allowance, a $12,000 car allowance, memberships to clubs deemed in the school’s interest and over $100,000 a year in retirement benefits.”
Proponents of the outrageous salary and perks argue that Corcoran’s political connections, being that he worked for Governor DeSantis as education secretary, and also served as the Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, will allow him to get additional funding for the struggling public university. Also, they stated that offering a large compensation package was necessary in order to get a good candidate. Now this argument may or may not be true, but the fact is that paying any individual this amount of money to run an organization this small is not justified, especially if you are trying to change the organization and its curriculum.
A better strategy would have been a short-term contract that offered a similar salary to the previous president’s, and then use the additional $400,000+ in funds to hire exceptional professors who would not promote socialism or far-left agendas. With that money, the organization could have hired 4-6 professors to host classes in which students would not be molded into far-left activists. After the interim president showed that he was able to turn the college around, then they could have renegotiated a more lucrative contract. This would have been a much better plan that would have prevented the dozens of bad publications from flooding social media, including the local Naples, Sarasota, Tampa Bay media market, with this misstep of hiring a politician to a very lucrative position.
If conservatives and moderates really want to start taking back the educational field, then we need to be calculative and deliberate with our actions. We cannot afford to make poor or sloppy decisions that make it appear as though we are not ready to lead on this issue. We must gain the public’s trust and show that our agenda, and our plan, will succeed and succeed rapidly. We only have one shot at saving this nation, and making poor choices and mistakes is unacceptable and detrimental to our cause. If the people in charge keep making mistakes, the public will lose trust in our vision and we will fail.