Biden picks Dr. Miguel Cardona to serve as his Secretary of Education Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 2, 2021

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday nominated Miguel Cardona, a former public school classroom teacher and the current Connecticut Education Commissioner, to serve as the 12th Secretary of Education.

If confirmed, Dr. Cardona will help carry out the president-elect’s ambitious plan to ensure that every student in the nation can get a high-quality education from pre-K to post-high school, regardless of their zip code, parents’ income, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, or disability.

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The Biden office said “as states and school districts struggle to meet students’ needs due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Cardona will make getting students of all ages and in every community back in the classroom safely a national priority — working with Congress and local, state, and tribal leaders to secure the funding and strong public health measures needed so that we can work to safely reopen the majority of our schools within the first 100 days of the new administration.”

It added that “having walked the walk as an educator, administrator, and public school parent, Dr. Cardona has a proven track record as an innovative leader who will fight for all students, and for a better, fairer, more successful education system. He will also strive to eliminate long-standing inequities and close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps — and expand access to community colleges, training, and public four-year colleges and universities to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class.”

Dr. Cardona, the first Latino to serve as Education Commissioner of Connecticut, is a former fourth-grade public school teacher who became the youngest principal in his state. His leadership during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis helped make Connecticut the first state in the nation to ensure that every one of its public school students has a laptop and a high-speed internet connection to engage in remote learning — a key driver in preventing lost school time and closing persistent equity and opportunity gaps.

Reactions:

President-elect Joe Biden: 

“In Miguel Cardona, America will have an experienced and dedicated public school teacher leading the way at the Department of Education — ensuring that every student is equipped to thrive in the economy of the future, that every educator has the resources they need to do their jobs with dignity and success, and that every school is on track to reopen safely.

“He will help us address systemic inequities, tackle the mental health crisis in our education system, give educators a well-deserved raise, ease the burden of education debt, and secure high-quality, universal pre-K for every three- and four year-old in the country. As a lifelong champion of public education, he understands that our children are the kite strings that keep our national ambitions aloft — and that everything that will be possible for our country tomorrow will be thanks to the investments we make and the care that our educators and our schools deliver today.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris:

“Even as we work to reopen our schools safely and responsibly, we also need to build a public education system that lifts up all Americans, regardless of race, background, or zipcode. Miguel Cardona is not only an experienced public servant, he is also a former public school teacher and administrator who understands what our students, teachers, and schools need to be successful.

“From making universal pre-K a reality for three- and four-year-olds to ending the status quo where school districts with the greatest needs get the fewest resources to making college more affordable, Miguel will help make sure all of our students have the knowledge and skills to thrive in a 21st century economy. And I look forward to working alongside him to help every child reach their God-given potential.”

Read his full profile below.

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, Secretary of Education 

Dr. Miguel A. Cardona currently serves as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education — the first Latino to hold the position. He began his career educating and inspiring Connecticut’s youth as a fourth-grade teacher in Meriden’s public school system, the same school district he attended as a child. Dr. Cardona became the youngest school principal in the state at age 28, serving in the position for 10 years before taking on a role addressing the district’s performance and evaluation process and ultimately rising to the position of assistant superintendent.

In addition to teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Leadership, Dr. Cardona served as the Co-Chairperson on the Connecticut Legislative Achievement Gap Task Force and the Connecticut Birth to Grade Three Leaders Council. Dr. Cardona earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University, and his masters in bilingual/bicultural education and his doctorate in education from the University of Connecticut. 

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