Know a Nominee: Miguel Cardona to be Secretary of Education
Do you support or oppose Cardona’s nomination?
by Causes | 3.1.21
- The Senate on Monday cast a bipartisan vote of 64-33 to confirm Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education.
- The Senate voted 66-32 to limit debate on the nomination of Miguel Cardona to be Secretary of Education. A confirmation vote has been scheduled for Monday, March 1st.
The Senate is expected to vote in the near future on the nomination of Miguel Cardona to be Secretary of Education, with a procedural vote likely to occur later this week. Here’s what you need to know about the nominee.
Who is Miguel Cardona?
- Cardona, 45, is an educator who has served as the Connecticut commissioner of education since August 2019 when he was appointed to the role by Gov. Ned Lamont (D).
- He started his career as a fourth-grade teacher in Meriden, Connecticut, his hometown, and was promoted to principal at age 27 ― which made him the youngest principal in Connecticut in the decade prior.
- Prior to his appointment as Connecticut education commissioner, Cardona spent four years as the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in his hometown’s school district in addition to working as a professor in the educational leadership department of the University of Connecticut (UConn).
- Cardona, who is Puerto Rican, grew up speaking Spanish as his first language and struggled to learn English in his early school years, which has led him to focus much of his academic research on closing gaps between English-language learners. If confirmed, he would be the second Hispanic to serve as education secretary
- He earned his undergraduate degree from Central Connecticut State University, then earned a master of science in bilingual and bicultural education and a Doctor of Education (EdD ― the same degree First Lady Jill Biden holds) from UConn.
What’s the outlook for his nomination?
- In his confirmation hearing, Cardona said he will “do everything in my power to make sure that our rollout strategy for reopening schools includes communication on how to safely reopen schools,” and that there “is no substitute for a classroom experience for our students being in front of their teacher”.
- He added that teachers should be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, but that vaccinations aren’t a prerequisite for reopening as there are “great examples” of schools around the country doing so without teachers being vaccinated.
- Cardona was pressed on the issue of transgender students competing in sports based on their gender identity, given that the Trump administration sought to punish Connecticut for its policy allowing transgender students to choose whether they compete in boys or girls sports. He told senators, “It’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender.”
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced Cardona’s nomination on a bipartisan vote of 17-5.
What does it mean for the Dept. of Education?
- The Dept. of Education establishes federal education policy and coordinates assistance to state and local education agencies.
- Most decisions about curricula and educational standards are made at the state and local level, although the federal Dept. of Education plays a role in collecting data from schools and enforcing educational laws related to civil rights and privacy.
- It has a budget of roughly $80 billion per year ― much of which are grants to states, localities, and institutions of higher education ― and around 4,000 employees.
— Eric Revell
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