President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced Miguel Cardona as his choice for education secretary, saying the Connecticut education chief and longtime champion of public schools was the right fit to lead the department as the nation was fighting to educate students safely during the pandemic.
The selection keeps Biden’s promise to nominate someone with work experience in public education and would achieve his goal of installing an education chief who stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy Of yours.
Unlike DeVos, a school choice advocate who Biden says is an opponent of public schools, Cardona is a product of them, starting from entering kindergarten unable to speak English.
During his remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden called Cardona a “brilliant” educator who would help strengthen his administration’s commitment to reopen schools safely.
“We can do this if we give school districts, communities, and states clear guidance and resources that aren’t already in their tight budgets,” Biden said, adding that solving the problem “requires someone who understands the need to prevent the pandemic from occurring. further exacerbating inequalities in our education system ”.
Early next year, Biden said he would send Congress a plan for the next steps in the education system, including funding to keep educators employed and safely reopen schools.
Introducing Cardona, Biden underscored his goal of expanding distance learning in communities in need and ensuring that schools in his state have appropriate safety equipment.
“It’s the vision, the resolve and the initiative that will all help us contain this pandemic and reopen our schools safely,” Biden said. “It’s a standard of care that comes from teaching in the classroom. … He is secretary of education at the moment.
Dr Miguel Cardona is a former public school teacher and a proven leader ready to lead from day one. Connect as President-elect Biden introduces Dr Cardona as a candidate for Secretary of Education: https://t.co/vO0cIfMLHM
– Biden-Harris presidential transition (@ Transition46) December 23, 2020
Cardona, 45, was raised in a housing project in Meriden, Connecticut, and passed through the city’s public school system before returning to work as a fourth-grade teacher in the district in 1998. At 28, he had become the youngest director in the state before making his way to the deputy district superintendent.
Referring to her immigrant grandparents and bicultural upbringing, Cardona has made comments in Spanish several times.
“Me, being bilingual and bicultural, I’m as American as apple pie, rice and beans,” he said, giving him a perspective on how to tackle inequalities in education. education in the country.
“I know how difficult this year has been for students, educators and parents. I have experienced these challenges alongside millions of American families, ”said Cardona. “It took some of our most painful long-standing disparities and deepened them even further.”
Cardona was appointed to Connecticut’s first education post just months before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March. When schools switched to distance learning, he rushed to deliver more than 100,000 laptops to students across the state. Since then, however, he has increasingly urged schools to reopen, arguing that it is bad to keep students at home.
If confirmed, his first task will be to expand this effort across the country. Biden has pledged that the majority of American schools will reopen within the first 100 days of his tenure. It promises new federal guidelines on decisions to open schools and a “large-scale” effort by the Department of Education to identify and share the best ways to teach during a pandemic.
Cardona’s stance on reopening schools has at times put him at odds not only with teachers’ unions, who have called for school buildings to be closed until safety measures are respected, but also with some. parents who say schools should be ordered to open.
But despite their occasional clash with him, a coalition of Connecticut education unions backed his candidacy for Biden’s education secretary. Cardona was also backed by the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, which urged Biden to appoint more Latinos to Cabinet positions.
Beyond the pandemic, Biden’s education secretary will also be tasked with reversing a range of policies adopted by DeVos. Biden has vowed to revoke Trump administration policies, including new DeVos rules for handling campus sexual assault cases, and he vowed to restore several Obama-era rules that DeVos revoked or rewritten.
Biden’s education plans also include measures that align with Cardona’s interests. The Democrat pledged to triple federal Title I funding for schools most in need and offered free kindergarten along with policies to diversify the nation’s teaching force.