Education News

Five reasons educators are excited about Miguel Cardona

By Amanda Menas / AP photo of Miguel Cardona from Jan. 28, 2020

On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden announced former public elementary school teacher and union member, and current Connecticut Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona as his pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

“When a record number of Americans turned out to vote for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, they sent a resounding message demanding justice, stronger public schools and more opportunities for all students — Black and white, Native and newcomer, Hispanic and Asian alike,” said former science teacher and NEA President Becky Pringle.

“In these tough times, students, educators, and families face unprecedented challenges — from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis to the systemic racism that has held back too many students for too long. We look forward to partnering with Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona in taking on these challenges together,” Pringle said.

Cardona will work as part of the Biden-Harris administration to invest in the nation’s public schools — because all students deserve a safe, welcoming, well-resourced school, no matter where they live. As a person of color, he is an inspiration to many, particularly students who will see in him a reflection of their own experiences. With a deep knowledge of the issues impacting students inside and outside the classroom, Secretary-designate Cardona knows that we must make improvements for our students by tackling issues such as housing insecurity, hunger, and economic instability, to help our students succeed.

Here are five things you should know about Cardona’s policies that have educators excited:

Miguel Cardona has supported trauma-informed practices in schools.

He has experience teaching in public schools

Cardona began his career in education as a fourth-grade public elementary school teacher before becoming the youngest principal in the state at age 28. In 2012 he was named Connecticut’s principal of the year and served as co-chairman of the Legislative Achievement Gap Task Force.

Cardona is someone who respects educators as the professionals that they are, will listen to our experiences as the people who know the names of our students, and will ensure that we have a voice in developing and implementing education policy.

He will be a welcome change from Betsy DeVos

Unlike DeVos, Secretary-designate Cardona will ensure that the federal government’s role in education is to improve access and opportunity for every student. He is someone who will defend our students’ civil rights and focus on the success of all students.

Shortly after being appointed Connecticut Commissioner of Education, Cardona said that closing the achievement gap was “top of the list” for him and that he would look at improvements that could be made “inside the schoolhouse” and “outside the schoolhouse” such as “housing insecurity, hunger… economic instability.” To that end, he will work collaboratively to promote education models such as community schools and policies that provide whole student support.

He has kept a focus on equity during the COVID-19 pandemic

In June 2020, Cardona said, “Fixing the digital divide is a major focus” during the COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis found that Connecticut was “the first state in the country to provide its public school students with universal access to learning devices,” including “a laptop and access to high-speed internet so they can log in to school remotely during the pandemic.”

He has championed racial justice 

During his tenure as Commissioner of Education, he pushed for Connecticut to become the first state in the nation requiring more culturally diverse courses by requiring all high schools to offer courses on African-American, Black, Puerto Rican, and Latino studies. He also announced programs to entice more students of color to become teachers and to get Connecticut college students already planning a teaching career into the classroom quicker.

He holds charter schools accountable

In February 2020, the Connecticut State Board of Education placed three local school districts within the Achievement First charter network on probation after they repeatedly violated “the state’s ground rules for operating a public school.” Cardona said “the network’s repeated non-compliance with state regulations made it seem like Achievement First thought of their oversight as ‘somewhat of a nuisance.’”

241 responses to “Five reasons educators are excited about Miguel Cardona

  1. As a retired teacher, I’m so happy to have someone who cares about students and had experience in public schools.

  2. Congratulations, I feel you have chosen a great leader, in education, andhe will definitely be better than Devos. And thank you for children getting the support they need. For the Dreamers having someone who, will be able to hopefully heal these students and what the have been through. Thank you.

  3. I have hope now that public education will have a much needed focus that will embrace thoughtful and research based ideas and policies. Some of which should be included are funding, equity, testing, updated and meaningful standards, Title one built up, adequate funding for TAG, ESL, and Special Ed! Federal mandates and policies should be funded by Federal dollars! Best of luck to you. I am looking forward to positive change!

  4. As a Connecticut resident, I am totally excited about this appointment. What a refreshing change from the current person sitting there. Thank you President Biden.

  5. So thrilled that someone who has been in the classroom and in school administration, sees and understands the needs of the children, will be heading the education department. Can’t wait to see the tail end of that useless
    Excuse for a Sec. of Edu.

  6. After the debacle of Betsy DeVos being named Secretary of education, we look forward to having a Secretary that truly understands what public education is all about!!!!!

  7. I wish Mr. Cardona the best. As shown in the picture holding the book, “Building Trauma Informed Restorative School”, I believe Mr. Cardona will be well-advised leader following the best proven and well researched solutions to problems that are practical and manageable.

    1. I am also a retired teacher(38years). If you can teach fourth grade- you can do anything. It sounds like he has the heart and head for the challenging work to come.

  8. Education is the only way democracy can be saved. Good education. Teaching civics 1-12 grades. I am excited about the work before us

  9. As a former elementary, middle school, high school, and college instructor (now retired), I am extremely pleased with this Education Secretary selection. I am looking forward to great progress and changes for our schools and students.

  10. I am extremely happy, and proud to hear that a brave and skilled Puerto Riican will advocate for us and our students. After these terrible years, I can finally breathe. Thanks Mr. Biden!!!

  11. Excited to see you in this position Mr. Cardona. I am a 24 year STEM/ Science teacher and we need the equity and the support for all our schools.

    Congratulations!

  12. I am excited to have a teal classroom teacher in the education cabinet position. There is no better way to gain an understanding of the issues affecting teachers and education support personnel. Welcome!

  13. So overwhelmed that a true educator is proposed as the upcoming Secretary of Education. It’s a positive move forward and I will definitely be looking where this proud profession will be going with a new leader.

  14. I personally would like to see SPED program better staffed and represented. SPED is an area that is constantly underfunded and underrepresented. I am hopeful of good change to come in serving our most diverse and impacted students and families.

  15. Anyone with education experience is an upgrade. The five listed reasons are encouraging, but here is the one that will really get me excited…does he support the science of reading?

  16. As an educator I am delighted with President Elect Biden’s choice of Miguel Córdoba to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

  17. I hope that all students will be looked upon as equal, especially those who are caucasian. I would also like to see lower States ranking to be able to upgrade their ratings to be higher than normal.

  18. It is refreshing to have a fellow NEA member at the table. Miguel Cardona is what Educators need. He has the background to do a great job by putting systems in place to hold all accountable ( even Superintendents) who think education is all about the business side and not students. Please visit us, CTA, Mr. Cardona during our state council meetings and/or conferences. I am looking forward to see the positive & much needed changes in education.

  19. I hope he understands early childhood and the needs and uniqueness of young children. And I hope he realizes, in general, that testing is indicative of neither learning or intelligence.

  20. Thank you, President-Elect Joe Biden, for choosing a quality candidate who has actually spent time in the classroom and understands the challenges educators face.

  21. I have seen nothing regarding his position on standardized testing, standardization of instruction, or holding teachers accountable for these scores. I also understand that he has been a force behind pushing students back into schools during COVID. I’m concerned also that he has very limited classroom experience, appears to have got into education not to teach, and he has no experience with large urban schools. I understand that we will need to built rapport by showing support but this piece seems to ignore all the current and potential concerns.

  22. As a retired teacher from Michigan I am VERY EXCITED about this! Miguel Cordona sounds like a great choice. I wish him well and I know he will do an awesome job.

    1. This choice sounds just like the type of Education Secretary we need! I’m excited to have an educator in this position and am looking forward to his confirmation!

    2. We are totally on cloud nine to have a Secretary of Education who has spent his career working in the Public Education System.

      1. Yes, Mary. The students are our most valuable resource and hope for the future for the best country ever created from the birth of the civilization. The way Mrs. DeVos used her title to protect her kinds and neglect the rest would have brought this country to another name on the list of the fallen empires. We don’t have to choose that destiny. We are more advanced.

        1. Congratulations! I’m a 42 year veteran of public education. Every student should have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). These plans should direct what each school offers their students! Reinvent public education, I would love to help you succeed!

        2. In some respects the whole Trump administration reminded us like never before how important it is to have educated, ethical, and passionate men and women leading our country. I hope this reminder does in fact change our resolve to bring good citizenship, civic education back to our classrooms. Many organizations have neglected advocacy while attempting to avoid the consequences of those who remain apposed to science and globalism.

        3. This positive change from DeVos is wonderful US public education. I am retired but still am very concerned about our schools that will be preparing our future in the right way, not from uncontrolled, self-serving people.

        4. It will be wonderful to have someone who has spent his career in the education field to now become a Secretary of Education!!

    3. I too am recently retired and wish the Secretary nominee all the best. He knows the field having spent a lifetime learning about it! Together he will lead the Department towards real development in educational practice and reform.

    4. As a retired Special Ed teacher from Washington state, I am excited to see an educator who will fight for every student to lead as the next US Department of Education.
      DeVos has been a disaster!

  23. This is great! Someone who understands our students, our teachers, and our concerns about the way charter schools are operating ,including the bait&switch marketing tactics in the recruitment of our public school students..

  24. Wheew!! Finally someone who will determine policy based on experience. What a novel idea! Thank you President-Elect Biden. We look forward to visionary leadership in Secretary Cardona.

  25. I’m excited that we actually have someone in this position that understands educating all children. He actually knows and understands education.

  26. Not happy with this decision. He was one of the educators wanted schools to open in summer when the COVID was high mention that schools needed to give in person teaching . In times of a pandemic when educators are scared for their lives

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