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. The good Lord be with him as our schools , teachers, and students are all suffering from lack of student contact as well as the loss mod income to families and lack of food, clothing, and shelter. School administrators as well as teachers are already trying to figure out how students can recoup the time in education they have lost. 13 grades or year round schools or??? I pray they will find a solution or partial solution before fall 2021. Best of luck to all..

  2. As a retired educator of 35 years in public education, I applaud the nomination of Mr. Cordona as Secretary of Education. We will now have a public educator in charge of public education! Public education is education for ALL. I am confident that new new Secretary will return this country’s public schools to greatness.

  3. I’m super excited that someone was chosen that has actually worked in the public school system & can relate!!!! Congrats Mr. Cordona! I wish you the best!

  4. I am a Special Education Counselor in Texas and I am truly excited to have Mr. Miguel Cardona to lead the U.S. Department of Education. I feel Mr. Cardona has the genuine knowledge and leadership experience to make a difference in education. Best of luck !!

  5. Good to see a new welcoming face in the public school system. Dr Córdona seems to be a great fit as the Secretary of Education. It’s time to put our youths and their education first instead of personal agendas and politics. Bye, bye Madam Devos.

  6. CONGRATULATIONS Miguel Cardona as PRESIDENT ELECTS pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education.
    As a retired PUBLIC SCHOOL educator from an URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICT in NEW JERSEY and a grandmother with grandchildren attending PUBLIC SCHOOLS I am excited to see someone who will support teachers and improvements in public schools

  7. As a retired Special Education Teacher/Consultant I applaud President Elect Biden for selecting a truly qualified Candidate for an extremely important position. The education of all students is a priority that has been overlooked by the current Secretary of Education. Now lets support Mr. Cordona and our President Elect Biden in their efforts to build back America better after four years of unexplainable decisions from the White House.

  8. It is great to see someone who has served time in the trenches is going to lead the education department. As a retired teacher and active member of math councils, I look forward to the future of education under his guidance.

  9. Excellent choice! I’m hoping his focus on trauma informed schools includes children and youth experiencing homelessness, who are all too often invisible and unsupported.

  10. I too as a retired teacher from Wisconsin am thrilled with the news of Miguel’s nomination. This is well deserved after 4 years of darkness and evil at the helm of the Department of Education. This is a nice Christmas present.

  11. I’m just thrilled about the selection of Dr. Miguel Cardona to the post of Secretary of Education! As someone who has connected and excelled with every level of education, from elementary to post secondary, Dr. Cardona will bring the sort of well-informed, compassionate, and distinctive leadership that we need in Washington, DC. Bravo!

  12. I look forward to someone that knows public education and what it means to Americans. Hopefully he has insight on special education and the issues that need to be addressed.

  13. THANK YOU, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris for nominating a Secretary who KNOWS public education and CARES about our children, their educators, and their parents. I believe he will be a breath of fresh air during dark times in our country, and especially in our schools. As a happily retired educator, I wish him, the Education Department, and all those connected with the education of our children the best of luck. Stay safe and be well, Mr. Cordona!

  14. I am looking forward to having an educator at the helm that puts our student’s first, as well as, inspire educators in this country to continue to enrich the lives of ALL our student’s by putting their best selves forward. We are all in this together and great things happen when educators get together!

  15. Thank God that Biden chose a non white person who had experienced in teaching. We just know if he can be a good executive and be inclusive in decision making. We must know if he has a heart of a Tracher that is passionate towards the well being of the students. He must be an advocate for teachers and the first thing is the salary and finding for poor district. We also must see if he can find a way to reopen all school ASAP with safety as priority. Student’s mental health and education in mental health and character development must be his agenda. Good luck Miguel and we hope you can support us as we support you.

  16. Thank you Joe Biden for doing the research and hearing good advise from people who care and know. You are doing a wonderful job already. Also reducing anxiety, blood pressure, and depression is hundreds of thousand humans and the non-human animals withwhom they live.
    Erica Seelig, Ukiah, CA

  17. As a retired analyst with the Ohio Department of Education, I am excited to see a leader in this position that cares about public education. I worked with the EdChoice program in Ohio that was developed and implemented by our legislators. I never agreed with taking public money and giving it to private schools so student attending failing schools can attend private schools. For almost 20 years this state has been operating this program with no improvement in student graduation rates. Here’s an idea!! take that money and invest in our public schools and teachers!!!

  18. I am very happy that our Secretary of Education has such a broad background and is the antithesis of the outgoing Secretary.

  19. Bye Bye, Betsey! Of course, she was a FOR PROFIT school proponent because her conservative friends would be able to control public schools for MONEY…HOWEVER, I don’t believe Miguel Cardona will be able to effect the changes we need in American education in one term as Secretary of Education. Education in the USA needs a complete and total revamping…we must start teaching foreign languages in 2nd grade and they have to be the ones that will be critical in the 2030’s, 2040’s and 2050’s and those languages are Chinese, Arabic and Russian. French and Spanish are wonderful but the world’s decisions are being made in China, the Middle East and in Russia and we have to be ready to understand and confront those countries in their languages and know their cultures. In 2050, when the Chinese are way ahead of us in math, technology, engineering and scientific research, we will not be able to catch up…early in a child’s education, public schools should find and hire the best and the brightest in math, science, languages, and technology. We can’t afford to be in the same place we are today in 2050…it is closer than you think.

    Now, for college educations…we must shorten the length of time a young person sits in college and focus heavily on what really matters…many college classes are “fluff”. Two years to get students ready in pre-med, pre-law, pre-engineering, and off to professional school. Get real about what the Chinese are teaching their students and we must do the same. Foreign students seek out our higher education institutions but we must still make our US students stronger in the areas I mentioned. In the next thirty years, the world will be very different than we know it today…we have to be ready and our young people must have all the skills and knowledge to negotiate this new frontier. We MUST become more educationally competitive to keep up with the world’s changing demands.

    1. I agree whole heartedly. I watch 3 and 4 year old preschoolers learning basic foreign language such as chinese. German, Russian, French, Spanish and more all at the same time.

  20. We have suffered through 4 yrs. of DeVos who supports the schools who are not public schools. We need support for our public schools like never before.

  21. This is beyond EXCITING! Finally a Secretary of ED who moved up from an actual teacher. It is the dawning of a new day. He seems knowledgeable on the issues public education and educators face daily.

  22. So happy to see someone who is one of us. He knows education and the needs of our union members. I see success in all of our futures. Finally, we can truly celebrate educators, parents and our wonderful students.

  23. BAD CHOICE. Connecticut is in bad shape except for the private schools. When he gets done the only ones going to private schools will be the rich kids. Wait and see.

  24. I thank God that Trump was legally voted out. One important reason was also to get rid of Betsy DeVos. Terrible leadership on the national level truly can injure our whole nation and, with students, our future. I hope we recall these hard lessons in citizenship at each future election.

  25. Miguel Cordona is an experienced educator who is “informed” by experience in the realities of our schools. Teacher, administrator and state leader. I continue to be impressed by the decisions that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are making. Every child in this country needs an advocate in Washington working for our public schools. I wish him well.

  26. As an educator, I am both delighted and relieved to have a teacher and administrator as our Education Secretary! Too long have we had an “education” secretary who was more worried about how much is too much to spend on the students. Instead, we will have someone who will help support the needs of every student AND teacher! I am enlightened already!!

  27. Congrats, and have a wonderful, easy, not toooo hard of a time doing and trying to undo, the work of a uninformed only care about filling hers and whos pockets with $’s. I am a tired AZ. Teacher who still have the love of educating our students, I still sub.
    Our students are our bright spots for the future and at last someone who believes in Public Education!

    1. I am 100% behind an experienced Public School administration. I am going to question all of that experience. Public Schools are not all in urban areas with a diversity of needy underprivileged students. The public schools in suburban and rural areas need assistance also. The higher intelligence students deserve as much help as those with handicaps, physical and mental. Rural schools need as much help as urban.

    2. Dang… i hope he’s not another Harris Biden liberal…I will give him a chance.
      But not holding my breath. The system is in need if major vamping. Systemic racism doesn’t exist. Black Lives Matter is a group of thugs!

  28. As a retired Special Education Generalist I am delighted that President Elect Biden has chosen an Educator as Secretary of Education. It’s wonderful to have someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of Public Education from the “ground up,”to represent the needs of our children AND teachers. Who better than a former teacher, school administrator, State Commissioner of Education and union member to lead the country in that capacity?

  29. Great potential. But a word of caution: Closing the achievement gap can mean over-reliance on standardized measures and under-reliance on teacher- or team-designed formative measures. US federal education policy under Dems and Repubs has hammered kids – especially kids of color and low-income – with tests. Assessment yes. Accountability yes. Balanced approach- yes. Be ready to watch the Dept of Ed on this.

  30. Thank goodness we have an educator in such an important position. Devos had no experience or interest in public education.

  31. Wonderful! He sounds perfect for the job…as do all of Pres.-Elect Biden’s cabinet choices. As a retired educator (teacher, librarian, principal) I look forward to learning of the strides this administration will make in improving our public education system…and holding charter schools accountable.

  32. As a retired educator, it is so important to have someone who is a public school educator and someone who will work for public education. There is so much that needs to be done to make our education system work for all. Donna Talley

  33. As a retired teacher from New Jersey I am thrilled beyond words about our new Secretary of Education. I have watched and listened in horror for the years that Betsy DeVoss has pushed for only private schooling. This man will, once again, be helping public schools to do what they are supposed to do. Having a Secretary who knows what it is like to be in the trenches will help both he teachers and the kids I can
    ‘t wait to see him in action!!

  34. I’m excited because of his experience in public education. But I read nothing about his stance on ESPs. Even in the pubic school sector, we are being laid off, fired, overlooked and treated with the utmost disrespect. I would love to here more about his plans on including ESPs in addressing the needs of the whole student.

  35. I don’t care what color the nominee is. I hope he will cancel student debt that is plaguing our country and it’s citizens.

  36. Good riddance to DeVos! She is an enemy of public education. She loves for-profit charter schools.

    It bogles the mind how anyone could accept her for the position from which she did as much damage to public education as she could.

    Begone, DeVos!

    1. I can’t believe it
      1- Trump ever got elected to the Highest Office in our country!
      2. He picked the worst candidates for his whole cabinet
      3. Devos was the worst Secretary of Education in the country’s entire history
      4. Thank goodness, we have a devoted, kind, caring, and president-elect!

    2. She was selected because of what she could do for education, she was selected to dismantle public education and because she and her family are major Trump donors.

    3. As a public school teacher and part-time adjunct for 52 years, I am delighted President-elect Biden has selected Dr. Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education. The education professional needs a Secretary of Education who has taught in the public schools. His experiences will benefit all students and schools throughout the United States.

    4. I truly am excited to hear this that Mr Cardeno has been selected! As a public school educator this brings me so much joy.

    5. Congratulations sir. As a retired ESP, It’s just as important to us to have someone in this position who understands the totality of ALL public school employees. It’s important to us that you were a union member who understands that support professionals need a living wage. It’s also important to us that you believe in equality, especially racial equality. Thank you president- elect Biden for having an insight into what our public school system needs in these tumultuous times and thank you for putting our most precious cargo first. Happy Holidays and come in January 20, 2021!

    6. I agree with you completely, but I think the reason Betsy loves her some charter schools is that she has said the purpose of education is to prepare warriors for God. Yes, she favors secular charter schools, but what she really seems to want is for the only schools to be religious (Calvinist dominionist) schools. Coming from a family of grifters and marrying into a family of grifters, is it any surprise she loves grifters?

    7. If you want to be treated as a professional, then act like a professional. This is about the new Secretary of Education, Mr. Cardona, not the outgoing one.

    8. If you want to be treated like a professional, then you need to act like a professional. This is about the new Secretary of Education, Cardona, not the previous one.

    9. If you want to be treated like a professional, you need to act like a professional. This is about the new Secretary of Education, Cordona, not the outgoing one.

  37. Hallelujah! The face of our leader in education looks like our students and the fastest-growing student population in the nation! Good luck we are all rooting for you and support your work!

  38. President-elect Biden kept a promise he shared at the NEA RA in Houston when he promised a Secretary of Education who had public school teaching experience. I look forward to what Mr. Cardona will accomplish.

  39. What a great choice! Someone who has “been in the trenches” as an elementary teacher–love that!! And it sounds like he’s been recognized for being a good advocate and leader in his state–well done!

  40. I look forward to having a Secretary of Education who listens to actual educators. My hope is he regularly meets with NEA and AFT to understand the importance of representation for educators.

  41. OMG this is such wonderful news . A human being who cares, is smart and has experience in something other than lining her silk purse with more $$$$.
    She was an evil stupid self serving do nothing!!
    Welcome Miguel Cardona! Proud to be from CT.

  42. It is nice that Biden chose a teacher for this position.

    However, if he was looking for a teacher to fill the spot, it might have been better to choose someone that taught for a longer period of time before going into administration. A principal at 28 means he taught for a maximum of approximately 7 years below the college level.

    I hope he does well.

  43. Except……..he advocated for in-school instruction during the Pandemic???????? Not so fast, everyone.

  44. I’m concerned that he taught for only a short time. I want TEACHERS to run the system – every system. Until teachers take over education we’ll have the same incompetent careerists in love with fat salaries who have infested our schools since World War II. I actually taught history instead of showing football films.

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