President-elect Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he would nominate Miguel Cardona to serve in his cabinet as secretary of education, The New York Times reports.
The pandemic has made many of America’s “most painful disparities” in schools much worse, the education secretary-designate said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “Though the nation is beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, we also know that this crisis is ongoing, that we will carry its impacts for years to come, and that the problems and inequities that have plagued our education system since long before COVID will still be with us even after the virus is at bay.”
He then said he hopes his plan for education in the Biden administration will do “the most American thing imaginable: to forge opportunity out of crisis”: “I, being bilingual and bicultural, am as American as apple pie and rice and beans,” he said.
- was born to Puerto Rican parents who lived in public housing
- attended public schools
- has been a teacher, a principal, and a district administrator
- has served as Connecticut’s education commissioner since 2019
Earlier this month, Governor Ned Lamont, Democrat of Connecticut, announced that the state had become the first in the nation to require that all high schools offer courses on African American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies.
At the national level, Mr Cardona will have much less say in terms of the curriculum offered by high schools, but the recent change in his home state gives an indication about where his heart is.
Evie Blad wrote in Education Week about where Mr Cardona stands on several K-12 issues, including charter schools, high-stakes testing, teacher unions, and reopening US schools during or after the pandemic.
Politico pointed out two stances that Mr Cardona has taken that will concern many parents and teachers. In his own state, he has pushed to resume annual testing this spring, despite the pandemic. Also, he has prioritized reopening schools, which will please some but anger others.
Laura Meckler, Matt Viser, and Valerie Strauss write in the Washington Post that Mr Cardona is a “safe” choice for education secretary, because despite his stance on testing and reopening, he has not been a “combatant” in fighting the education wars.