Education Pick Miguel Cardona on Biden’s Promise to Reopen Schools

President Biden’s pick for U.S. Department of Education Secretary is Miguel Cardona, of Puerto Rican heritage, born in Connecticut, where he has served as as the Connecticut commissioner of education since 2019. To read full article and to listen to a conversation with Dr. Miguel Cardona (a 49-minute program), go to NPR.

With many U.S. schools still shuttered or operating on a limited basis, and millions of children learning remotely (or trying to), the stakes are high for Miguel Cardona. He is President Biden’s pick to run the U.S. Department of Education, and if confirmed, he’ll be charged with making good on Biden’s promise to re-open most K-12 schools during the new administration’s first 100 days.

When asked Monday if that goal was “too optimistic,” Cardona pushed back: “No, I think it’s strong leadership.”

That answer came in an interview with Lucy Nalpathanchil, host of Connecticut Public Radio’s Where We Live, in which Cardona reflected on what it would take to meet Biden’s goal.

“Ultimately, we can only safely reopen our schools while we are able to reduce spread and contain the virus,” he said, an acknowledgement that, at the moment, the virus’ spread remains unchecked in many communities.

Unlike former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Cardona has a long public school resume. He began as an elementary school teacher in his hometown, Meriden, Conn., then spent a decade as a principal in the same district, winning Connecticut principal of the year in 2012. Cardona eventually helped run the district as assistant superintendent, until he was tapped in August 2019 to be Connecticut’s state commissioner of education. Cardona’s tenure overseeing Connecticut’s schools was relatively brief and dominated by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech accepting his nomination to be the next U.S. secretary of education, Cardona said the pandemic has “taken painful disparities and wrenched them open even wider. … It has stolen time from our children.” In the years to come, he said, “we will carry its impacts.” [. . .]

For full article and to listen to a conversation with Dr. Miguel Cardona, see NPR.

[Above: Dr. Miguel Cardona, US President-Elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Education Secretary, speaks during an event announcing his nomination at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 23, 2020. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm /AFP via Getty Images).]

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