Miguel Cardona could soon be helping the nation’s children get back into the classroom…
President-elect Joe Biden has nominated the Puerto Rican educator and politician to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education in his cabinet, calling the Puerto Rican politician, Connecticut’s education commissioner, “brilliant” and saying he’ll play a key role in his administration’s efforts to reopen schools forced online amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cardona, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico to Connecticut, would be another high-profile Latino in the Cabinet if confirmed by the US Senate.
Biden said Cardona “understands that the deep roots of inequity that exist as a source of our persistent opportunities gaps. He understands the transformative power that comes from investing in education.”
Cardona said that as an education commissioner, a public school parent and a former public school classroom teacher, he understands how challenging this year has been for students, educators and parents.
“It’s taken some of our most painful, longstanding disparities and wrenched them open even wider,” Cardona said, speaking publicly for the first time as Biden’s nominee. He said that “for too many students, your zip code and your skin color remain the best predictor of the opportunities you’ll have in your lifetime.”
He added, “Though we are beginning to see the 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 educational system since long before Covid will still be with us even after the virus is gone.”
Biden on Wednesday reiterated that reopening schools safely would be a national priority for his administration and spoke of the challenges that students, educators and administrators have faced amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“They worry. They’re under stress. They stretch local budgets that have left educators out of work,” Biden said.
Cardona was appointed Connecticut’s commissioner of education by Democratic Governor Ned Lamont in August 2019. He came to the role with two decades of experience as a public school educator from the city of Meriden, according to the state’s government website, after beginning his career as an elementary school teacher and later serving for 10 years as a school principal.
In 2013, Cardona became the assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus had urged the President-elect to select him.