Education News

7 changes to expect from Biden’s Department of Education led by Miguel Cardona

Photo of Miguel Cardona on Dec. 23, 2020 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By Amanda Menas and Amanda Litvinov

During the Biden-Harris administration, educators will have new opportunities to advocate for policies at the federal level that will benefit the lives of students, families, and school communities. Issues such as decaying school infrastructure, the digital divide, and lack of access to school nurses and counselors—the results of unjust funding and policies born of white supremacy—will begin to be corrected.

President Biden’s nomination of Dr. Miguel Cardona as his education secretary shows he is serious about investing in public schools and listening to educators on what students need to succeed.

Lauren Mancini-Averitt is a high school social studies teacher in the Meriden School District, the same district where Miguel Cardona taught 4th grade, served as an elementary school principal, and later was named Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.

“he is truly an educator. He’s inquisitive, he listens, and he knows how to work collaboratively,” says Mancini-Averitt, who is in her second year as a local president and her 31st year of teaching.

She says Cardona didn’t “turn all of that off” when he left the classroom to become a principal, or when he was tapped to write a new teacher evaluation plan required by then-Gov. Dan Malloy. Cardona, who is committed to union-management collaboration, worked closely with educator unions to craft that plan.

“He doesn’t walk in the room to be an official,” Mancini-Averitt says. “He walks in to learn what’s going on in the classroom or the school.”

The Connecticut Education Association says Cardona shares many of their priorities.

“Cardona is a Connecticut public school educator who understands the federal role in increasing educational opportunities for all students, seeks teacher voices in collaborative efforts to help improve schools, and recognizes that highly qualified teachers are the greatest asset in public education,” said Connecticut Education Association President Jeff Leake.

Cardona, who is currently Connecticut Education Commissioner, has long focused on education equity and is acutely aware that issues inside the schoolhouse and outside the schoolhouse–such as food insecurity, homelessness, and economic instability—have a tremendous effect on student learning. He gained that awareness not only through teaching; Cardona himself grew up in poverty in public housing in Meriden.

Given the commitments Biden has made to support public schools and address systemic inequities, educators should expect a 180-degree turn away from the lack of leadership and direction seen under Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

Here are seven things educators can expect from the Cardona-led Department of Education that supports President Joe Biden’s priorities. They will:

Prioritize public schools

Biden’s American Rescue Plan puts public education front and center. The plan includes a massive effort to contain the virus through vaccinations and support for public health systems. It sets aside $130 billion for K-12 schools to help restore in-person learning and operate safely. Districts could use the funds to reduce class sizes, modify spaces to comply with social distancing guidelines, and hire custodians, nurses, and counselors to support students. Another $35 billion would go to public institutions of higher education to help them implement campus safety protocols and provide emergency assistance for millions of students.

President Biden opposes schemes that pull money out of public education. He has stated that“when we divert public funds to private schools, we undermine the entire public education system. We’ve got to prioritize investing in our public schools, so every kid in America gets a fair shot. That’s why I oppose vouchers.” Vouchers continue to facilitate racial and socioeconomic segregation and weaken the wall of separation between church and state within our education system. By opposing the enactment of any new voucher programs or the expansion of existing programs, all public schools are protected.

Support borrowers and graduates

On his first day in office, President Biden extended the pause on student loan payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also encouraged Congress to pass legislation to erase $10,000 in federal student loan debt per student.

NEA President Becky Pringle praised Cardona’s nomination, in part because he will help make higher education more accessible to more students. “Dr. Cardona will help fulfill President Biden’s promises to make community college free, tackle the student debt crisis, and enable college graduates to pursue careers in education and public service by expanding and simplifying the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs.”

Cardona’s department will be charged with addressing college affordability and holding private lenders accountable.

Hold charter schools accountable

Public education should be our first priority. Any program that diverts resources from the public schools that 90 percent of American students attend by definition undermines the promise of public education. As education commissioner for the state of Connecticut, Cardona (a former classroom teacher and union member) emphasized that advocacy for public schools was “the core work that not only myself but the people behind me in the agency that I represent will have.” Cardona also has experience holding 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.”

Rely less on high-stakes, standardized tests

The over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing in district, state, and federal accountability systems is undermining education quality and equity in U.S. public schools. Education Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona has previously criticized linking state tests to teachers’ evaluations, saying of his work in Connecticut, “Not reducing a teacher to a test score and bringing the voices of teachers and leaders into the process of professional learning–those are two things I really felt like I had to champion.” The Biden-Harris administration acknowledges that students deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in multiple ways, including the ability to apply that knowledge as part of a project or performance assessment.

Close the digital divide/homework gap

About 16 million students don’t have the broadband internet and/or technology they need to participate fully in virtual learning. Like education, access to technology can be a great equalizer; its absence creates a digital equity divide. The federal government can help bridge the digital divide by bringing new technologies and the power of high-speed internet to urban, rural, and under-resourced communities nationwide. In June 2020, Cardona said, “Fixing the digital divide is a major focus” during the Covid-19 pandemic. An analysis found that under Cardona’s leadership, 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.”

The Biden administration supports funding to help schools address the homework gap and plans to prioritize new infrastructure for students and communities of color to increase access to high-speed broadband. NEA strongly encourages Congress to supply this support through the effective, equitable, and proven E-Rate program.

Support workers’ rights

As a union member, Cardona has supported educators’ rights. The Board of Education Union Coalition, representing over 60,000 teachers, supported his nomination for secretary of education, calling Cardona “a positive force for public education — light years ahead of the dismal Betsy DeVos track record.” Additionally, Cardona was backed by the Connecticut Education Association, who said “his years as a teacher and administrators have been ‘critical to his accomplishments as Connecticut Education Commissioner.’”

Joe Biden believes “the federal government should not only defend workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively but also encourage collective bargaining.” He plans to make it easier for all workers to unionize and supports educators being able to bargain for better pay and benefits in addition to having a voice in decisions that affect their students. The Biden administration plans to provide a federal guarantee for public sector employees to bargain as their private-sector coparts have.

141 responses to “7 changes to expect from Biden’s Department of Education led by Miguel Cardona

  1. What us he going to do for teacher salaries ? & whats he doing for those of us that want to retire at 60 but can’t due to Healthcare costs, ? what’s he doing for older teachers ? When will it be done by? Why aren’t the specialists in the schools paid more?

    1. How can I speak directly or email Miguel Cardinal. I too grew up in Meriden Ct in public schools and went from poverty to prosperity after having screwed up my life miserably by the time I was 16…Fleeing a horribly abusive situation arriving in Ga with 3 babies and almost penniless…I never had 1 Day of WELFARE IR FAMILY MONEY…Jumped in dumpsters to get food before the rats got to it…BUT I MADE IT AND WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS…

  2. What us he going to do for teacher salaries ? & mant of us want to retire at 60 but can’t due to Healthcare costs, what’s he doing for older teachers ? When will it be done by? Why aren’t the specialists in the schools paid more?

  3. I would like to see the Loan Forgiveness program working as it should without incidents/denials, the time frame shortened a bit and with an increase of the forgiveness.

    A waiver/alteration of the mandated exams for the Covid 2020/2021 years for sure due to the limited Covid exam schedule and the increased stress. Certainly no less than increased deadlines. There could be an acceptance of the potential teacher’s college transcript showing equivalency in knowledge. Not everyone tests well despite their knowledge.

    Teaching credential programs set up and taught at local Community colleges via State Universities.

    Teaching credential programs accelerated to become a 1-1.5 year programs.

    The incredibly wealthy and blessed by its customers Amazon should be giving out books needed for credential classes for free to teachers. This may encourage more individuals to seek their credential and may assist with the current teacher shortages. I am sure Amazon could easily set up some sort of program with verification for those taking classes and seeking a credential.

    The Pell Grant should be raised to $10,000.

    Philanthropists think about checking in with local schools regarding their electronic device needs. Wouldn’t it be GREAT if all those students that currently have devices loaned out by their schools were able to keep them? This would assist in closing the divide. The electronic devices Ipads, laptops, Chromebooks could be purchased by the Philanthropists with the goal to replace all the devices that had been handed out. A win win philanthropists get the tax write off, the students keep their devices, and the schools get new equipment/devices. This is my dream.

      1. These Leftists are all alike. Their agenda is the total destruction of the country which gave them the very opportunities they now exploit for money and power. They couldn’t care less about paying for anything except their own lavish lifestyles. Cardona earned approx $200, 000 a year in his last job.

  4. While I’m happy about reducing standardized testing, I dont’ see why parents having a choice between public, charter, and private schools and where their tax dollars go is such a bad thing. When there’s no competition there’s no progress.

    1. When private schools have to accept all students and are held to the same accountability standards, you may have a valid point. Presently, you don’t have a valid point.

    2. Schools are not a business. We are a service to our students. The progress is made because of respect given to employees (including job security and fair pay) and the joy of seeing our students progress and succeed. My colleagues and I don’t need competition to enhance our skills as teachers by taking numerous classes and professional development courses and reflecting on our practice. It is inherent in being an effective educator.

    3. Classroom sizes! Although we are virtual, it’s especially challenging and the workload of having 150 students is too much for one teacher to handle when it means reaching out to parents, grading for that many students, and entering and posting grades.

    4. As a longtime teacher and district administrator I understand the concerns public school educators have about being judged against private/charter schools who have fewer restrictions and regulations.
      As a parent I understand the desire to have freedom and opportunity of choice for my children.
      We will not win a fight against private/charter. Parents like the choice. Let’s instead work to have the positives of private/charter schools applied to public schools and let’s see how we can blossom with less regulation. We really need to rethink our approach if we are to maintain our strong public support.

      1. Should public schools be able to remove any student for any reason? Because until that happens no public school will be able to compete with private schools for achievement; private schools could just expel underachievers.

  5. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommends one school counselor per 250 students. Currently I have 600+ students. I am a behaviorist, social worker, and a counselor in a high needs school. We need to invest in school counselors to lay the foundation of social emotional learning which directly correlates to academic success.

    1. I agree Shara. Not only do I agree with the ration proposed by the American School Counselor Association, but I also want us to focus having counselors in all our schools. ALE schools that are in our systems, do away with counselors and replace with other non-certified staff to perform “counselor duties.” I want that to stop. These ALE schools are usually for-profit organizations such as K12 or Stride, whatever they are calling themselves now, and do not provide the counseling services that our students need or have a right to.

  6. I agree! I am a single mom and struggled to pay off my student loans month by month. Now I am in a district which has been face to face with students and with the exception of a three week pause. I work with students with emotional impairments who are resistant to wearing masks, social distancing etc. We keep being told that we are essential workers, but are not getting extra compensation for showing up day after day and I will not benefit at all from student loan forgiveness.

  7. In response to “teachers should be back in classrooms because they have little possibility of contracting Covid from children.” have any teachers died or become seriously ill from student contact?

    1. Yes, there are teachers that have become seriously ill from getting the Covid-19 virus while in the workplace. In my case I was rather ill for sometime, but not ill enough to be hospitalized (thankfully), however my family also became ill and my mother, who was living with us at the time) did end up at the hospital and has been on oxygen for over 3 months. I take issue with those that say you don’t or can’t get the virus at schools. I know that is where I got it and unfortunately brought it home to my own family.

    2. There have been at least two that I have heard of. During a training a teacher shared the loss of her co-worker due to Covid.

  8. Please look at the type of curriculum being taught in the elementary grades. We are lacking in common sense, phonics, foundational skills and are robbing kids of real-life, everyday situations needed to expand daily knowledge. Education seems to be far, far from students’ reach and closer to the highest political bidder. Students are in dire need of your support, and the teachers need a voice of reason. They have been reduced to robots without a personality. I’m excited to see the positive energy that you will bring to resuscitate education, because we have been on life-support for the past three or four years!!! We need to demolish that good ole boy network and hire based on merit, not kin/friendship. Every student needs a textbook. K-3 needs Math and Reading Only to close the towering gap that we have faced for years. Allow teachers to TEACH and not be CONSTANTLY micromanaged by incompetent management. Bring professionalism back on every level. Allow evaluation transparency for teachers to evaluate everyone who evaluates the teacher. Raise teacher pay. Those are a few of my concerns that I hope are addressed at every local level. Welcome, come on in; take a seat at the head of the table. I’ve been waiting for someone like you!!

    1. I whole-heartedly agree with Clara, but I think the life-support started about 10 years ago when professional people were told that they had to follow scripted lessons. Why bother to get an education and the skills to teach when you are not allowed to use them. Teachers need to be allowed to teach.

  9. I am hoping that Sec. Cardona and the Biden administration will support Ethnic Studies as an educational requirement for K-12 and higher with significant funding as part of their racial justice efforts.

  10. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a real teacher from the public school systems finally come into this role! First, charter schools are “for profit” not “for students”. I believe we should take the same stance here as with prisons. (no private-for-profit prisons should carry over into no charter-for-profit schools) I worked in a charter school for one year and they only wanted high enrollment until October when the money came in and then they started suspending and expelling students left and right. It wasn’t right at all!

    I love that teachers should be held accountable for students but not with testing scores! We all know that scores on tests can be swayed by a a whole host of issues that are out of teacher control.

    Please, please, please have teachers involved in all that you are working on! It bothers me when changes are made by legislatures that haven’t stepped into a school or talked to a teacher. We must be sitting at the table working with you!!

  11. As a parent with substantial Parent Plus loans, I want to know if the $10,000 also applies to me. I took out a substantial amount of the loan so that my daughter wouldn’t spend the rest of her life trying to start off on an even playing ground. On the other hand, I would like to be able to retire at some point.

  12. My plea is to mandate mask wearing for all public schools! Here in Colorado the Governor has mandated only 10 years old and older to wear a mask. That leaves elementary teachers and their students vulnerable to Covid-19!


  13. These are huge wins but first we need to address schools being open in COVID. They need to be urged to close until there’s a national safe reopening standard. Teachers forced to choose between their health or their families’ health are leaving the profession in droves. My division has had hundreds leave this year alone because of reopening and now we are reopening as Virginia is the only state in the nation in red and rising! If public education matters, we need to protect and safe our public educators!

  14. Have you watched the documentary “The Social Dilemma “? Why do you think the parents who work in Big Tech don’t want their children to use computers, tablets, or phones to do school work….

    1. Agree…especially an elementary teacher who is obviously invested in the betterment of public education. I pray the Biden administration will be able to make these positive changes because public schools are hurting thanks to DeVos and the past administration.

  15. Great concepts. Only as an unfortunate white born person I feel that this statement could’ve been written WITHOUT the policies born of white supremacy.
    “ Issues such as decaying school infrastructure, the digital divide, and lack of access to school nurses and counselors—the results of unjust funding and policies born of white supremacy—will begin to be corrected.

    1. So are you saying that white Supremacy isn’t the root of all those things?

      Remember white Supremacy is systematic!

      1. There is no such thing as white supremacy in this country. Move on. Stop making blacks into poor little victims of society.

        1. Perhaps you are not familiar with the concept of white supremacy culture that was referenced. Why were Black people mentioned?Your statement about Black people reveals a historical educational void that allows reality in your life to be a choice.

        2. Oh my goodness what a scary comment. Are you a teacher? How do you treat your students of color? Do you live in a diverse area? Does your school have any diversity training?

          1. I treat my students of color equally with all students. I never tell them they are victims of society or white oppression. That is not true anymore. I encourage them to finish high school, go to college, get jobs and live responsible lives. There is no white supremacy, social injustice or institutional racism anymore. Get over it and move on. Maybe you need the diversity training.

        3. I hope that districts will be given more money to use for health benefits and for salary increases across the nation.

      2. Stop blaming white people for all the ills of the country. Blaming a race of people is racist. Where is the unity we were promised??

    2. Well said! I agree! There’s no such thing as white supremacy. They use white guilt to justify creating new programs for the poor oppressed. Give me a break.

    3. Please push for one school nurse in EVERY school. If a teacher has approximately 18-36 students, why should a school nurse have thousands to serve? Nurses keep teachers and school staff focused on their tasks rather than trying to care for the health needs, sometimes life threatening, of students. Common complaint by school staff “I am not the nurse”. Nurses keep students and staff safe, increase attendance and make learning more accessible for students with health needs. This is just a drop in the bucket of what nurse do.

    4. I agree with Michelle. Why is everything about the color of one’s skin? I grew up in rural Appalachia. I was white and poor. My dad hunted in the woods, so we wouldn’t starve. My dad was a violent abusive alcoholic, and my mom was his enabler. Neither one valued education. A digital divide…I babysat on weekends so I could save enough money for my $100 graphing calculator. I did it, because I wanted to do well in school. I didn’t wait for someone to address “digital” divide. I made a decision to work hard and get an education, so my kids wouldn’t have to babysit to buy a piece of technology. I think we’re showing people that if you make bad decisions in your life, poor, unmotivated, etc., don’t worry someone will fix it for you. I know there are extenuating circumstances for some, but I think we are going down a slippery slope. And this race-baiting needs to stop. There are plenty of stories about people of color who come to this country with nothing and now own businesses and are successful, because of hard work and determination.

  16. Since I paid my student loan debt off. I need you to send my $10,000 as a reimbursement! Please and thank you!

    1. 100%! Don’t reward those who are irresponsible (I know this doesn’t describe everybody but definitely some!) and punish those who lived within their means until their debt was paid, or who, through work, scholarships, or wise choice in schools, graduated without debt.

    2. Student loan interest has gotten crazy – I am now 64 and my minimum payments have ballooned to $2000/month. Had to get a masters to be considered “highly qualified” to keep my teaching job, and I don’t know what will happen to us when loan payments start up again. Taking care of my 87 yr old retired teacher mom, a retired friend who worked for school lunch room who has Alzheimers, and my husband and I are barely making ends meet WITH the student loan on pause. Life insurance is only $50,000 – so I can’t even kill myself to get loans paid (we both co-signed on 2 kids’ student loans and one has now defaulted.) This is a family crisis with no visible solution.

      1. I agree. I worked hard to pay off my loans. You borrow money, you pay it back! However, the interest rate is ridiculous. Lower the interest.

    3. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 I came into teaching as a new professional years ago. Never did O get any loan forgiven for the years I taught. I had to fight the new school here recently to get a Teach Grant in which I qualified for many years ago.
      School wouldn’t fill out none of the classes that were taken years ago because they weren’t graduate courses. So I had to matriculate into a Grad Program just to be certified. NJ left it up to the schools here to fill out the paperwork.
      Thousands more on student loans. Ughhhh

  17. Request the Department of Education, in conjunction with the CDC’s guidelines, place safety ceilings/moratoriums for in person learning, on numbers of new cases of Covid-19 per 100, 000 of the population, to make returning to-in person school safe for everyone. In my district, we will go back into our schools in a couple of days. Washington has removed the safety ceiling and many of us feel fear for our safety and for the health of our families.
    I work in the county with the highest numbers of new infections in the state; the trend is not going down. This is not right; it is not safe. Local pressure on politicians and public health officials is driving it, not science, not the CDC. Please set some safe reopening guidelines that align with the CDC’s recommendations. Science, not politics, should drive the reopening of schools and in-person instruction.

    1. Here in MN, we started back full-in-person with K-2nd grade on the 19th of January. Within 3 days we had a class that had to isolate due to exposure. Happened to several elementary schools. So, the “protocols” were changed so now the whole class doesn’t have to isolate, parents are just asked to keep an eye out for symptoms. Next week 3rd through 5th return full-in-person. We will classes of 30-35 kids in the upper grades…there will be NO social distancing…our rooms aren’t THAT large. Good news is SOME of us will get vaccinated this weekend.

  18. Teachers need to be valued because while we work hard there are so many that are either looking to get out because of the lack of respect and being devalued along with they can’t get teachers into college prep classrooms. I do hope it changes quick because teaching is truly rewarding but it is the adult actions that are a nuisance.

  19. I do not believe there is a digital divide at all as I live in a very poor district and our students are given internet and chromebooks at taxpayers expense. Stop the exaggeration. The drama is getting old. #honesty counts for our kids

    1. You can’t ‘give’ internet to students!! Internet comes through providers and I KNOW FOR A FACT that most of the people in my area do not have internet access because ATT says they don’t have the ability to provide it! My daughter, an RN who needed internet for her job, waited 3 years for someone to drop out and she got the “open socket.” I am a retired teacher hired to temporarily fill in for a teacher on leave, these folks are telling the truth, most kids at the school have no internet!

      1. Yes, you can give them internet. It’s called a mobile hotspot, and our district provided them to our students.

      2. In my school district, the district bought hotspots for students and had wi-fi upgraded for an entire block in a town because of slow wi-fi. Chrome books and iPads were purchased so that every student had either a chrome book or an IPad. The problem is chrome books and IPads are being returned damaged, such as busted screens, keyboards painted with fingernail polish, etc. Parents and students have no explanation for the damages.

    2. That may be true where you live. I live and used to teach in a poor school district. Our students were provided with Chrome books and tablets. We had students sitting outside the school building to use the Scholl Wi-Fi, because they didn’t have access at home. The school district where my nieces live did not provide Chrome books or tablets. My nieces had to borrow money from family and forgo paying bills in order to buy tablets and get internet. The big problem in our education system is the inequality between districts and states.

  20. Digital learning is not as effective as it is made out to be, and I am an elementary teacher in a district wherein all the students have devices with good learning software on them.
    When we were remote with good communication platforms and technical support available, the majority (and I mean about 75%) of students still did not complete the minimum assignments and they were truly minimal assignments, bare bones requirements.
    Now that students are back in school, you can witness them on those same programs, interacting with the learning material like it was a video game. NO thinking or reading or hunting for or working out answers, peck, peck at the keyboard, just trial and error — mostly error. Most kids just need a teacher.

    1. I agree! I am a recently retired elementary teacher of 25 years. I have witnessed my grandkids on their Chrome Books with “Distance Learning”. It is minimal. Since my 12 year old grandson knows and understands “school learning”, and is a high achieving student, I believe he will do OK. My 6 year old granddaughter, in first grade, is getting nothing from “Distance Learning”. I have sat with her during Distance Learning and observed the teacher trying her best to keep all 30 first graders on task. Which is near to impossible. My granddaughter’s first report card was far below grade level. Since we live in different states, I have been teaching my granddaughter in the evenings on Zoom. Because we are 1 on 1 and
      I insist on her paying attention, she has passed her assessments and is at grade level now! Hallelujah!
      Sadly not all students have a retired teacher for a Grandma.
      I feel badly for the students and teachers when school begins again in person.

      1. As a retired teacher I agree, each child is different, several of my grandchildren were home schooled, one would get up early and have all his assignments done by lunch, the other would get up late and still be working y supper time, seems to have carried over to adulthood, some need the extra push some are self starters.

    2. You’re absolutely right – digital learning is not as effective as being taught by a teacher in a classroom with tangible items instead of digital reproductions. However, in the midst of a global pandemic with many schools closed and others being forced to do hybrid models, digital learning is better than nothing. In much of the nation digital learning is the only way for students to be getting any kind of education because it is not safe for students to be in the classroom with the rates of infections. I don’t think anybody is saying that digital learning is preferable to digital learning, and I think most of us would agree that a majority of students have been less than successful with digital learning, but it is better than nothing.

  21. This is not a legitimate debate as responses are censored through a “moderation” team. So of course you won’t see this post from a real life teacher. Why is that? Censorship is real. #Coexist #Tolerance

  22. I have a few huge issues!! DON’T FORGET ABOUT SUPPORT STAFF!! CLERICAL, PARA PRO’S, CUSTODIAL, BUS DRIVERS ETC. The glue for all schools!

    Allow for Union dues to be withdrawn from paychecks

    Restore lost retirement time to those not able to work due to COVID.

  23. My grandson has been going to a Charter school with in class learning and I don’t see any precautions being taken during the pandemic. It worries me that he isn’t required to do any homework. How will any of these students be ready for 4th grade in September? Why do Charter schools not have to follow state requirements?

  24. Public education has it’s problems, but is still the “path”that will get students to a better life. It is the only source of education that the majority of student have. It is is equal to all who apply themselves. We must continue to invest in our public schools! Public education built this nation!

  25. The reason they do not want high stakes testing is because it shows the actual education being learned at these schools. I am a teacher at one and in CA we did away with any standards for graduation because the kids could not pass it. It is sad to see Devos was bad also as she did not understand what we really need. That is money on elementary schools with smaller classrooms and more attention to the ones with no literacy and math experience from the home or we can have generations of idiots.

  26. A pleasing change has already taken place.

    4 years of Betsy was 4 years too long.

    Thank you, for understanding what Education needs.
    Thank you, for listening to us,
    the very corrupt past Secretary of Education, DeVos.

  27. A pleasing change has already taken place.
    4 years of Betsy was 4 years too long.
    Thank you, for understanding was Education needs.

  28. A pleasing change has already taken place.
    4 years of Betsy was 4 years too long.
    Thanks you, for understanding was Education needs.

  29. He needs to not forget the ones on the fronlines in school districts and thats the transportation departments. They see the children before the teachers do and they teach the children before the teachers do too. Threy teach them to follow the rules and even the new cdc rules.

  30. Don’t forget to address Special Education. Federal funding is inconsistent and almost nonexistent in some areas. Shrinking tax dollars and diverting of precious state funds to non public schools puts incredible strains on public schools’ operating budgets. There should be guaranteed Federal Funding for all Special Education programs in our public schools.

  31. Just look, what those of us have been advocating for is in writing, put there by this administration. We need this now more than ever. The state education departments need to do right by our children and not continue their bad policies.

    1. Amen Lisa!!! Starting with holding states accountable for their teacher turnover rates! High teacher turnover is bad for kids.

  32. Our system provided laptops and hotspots. I agree there is a digital divide however, students were provided everything they needed yet they failed to log on, do the work, and be held accountable. I hope to see more accountability on parents and students in education. We can only do so much.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly that until parents are held accountable for their child’s education, the teacher’ hands are tied.
      Numerous students refuse to log into their computers, or log in, and turn off their camera snd microphone, which in essence means they are not engaged in the learning process.
      Teachers snd or parents should be the only one that can disengage the student from the learning process.
      If the same students were sitting in the classroom and decided they didn’t want to be part of the learning process, the teacher would address the disconnect, reach out to the student to try and help them, reach out to the parent, or have the school counselor or social worker work with the student.
      In the virtual, the student just “disappears” virtually , and the parent as well most of the time. This should not be acceptable or allowed to continue.

  33. Charter schools are considered public schools, at least here in Arizona. We need to ensure that “District Public Schools” are prioritized. It is not enough to just say “public schools”!

  34. I hope would hope that one priority would to not have state testing for the 2020-21 school year along with educator evaluations.

  35. I see no considration for the great contribution Catholic schools make American children. Having educated my 10 children in Catholic schools K-12, I have experienced the lack of return for my tax dollars from a system that invests only in poorly managed public schools, ignoring the the invaluable asset that Catholic represents. You got my vote and contribution President Biden. Don’t ignore us.

    1. Ramon, Choosing a faith based education is admirable. And, the stabilization of your community is in public education. Any special education services your ten children may have needed were/could have been provided by public education. Catholic schools are powerful–however, contributing to the greater good is faith in action. Is humility a gift of the Holy Spirit?

    2. If you feel this way, why would you vote for Biden? Biden is in the pocket of the teacher’s union, and he is pro-abortion. Seems like that would be contrary to your beliefs.

  36. As a teacher this is so upsetting. i served in a Title 1 school and had to work 5 years teaching Science and Reading to earn my loan forgiveness of 10k. This was no easy job. This sacrifice is now meaningless as everyone will get the 10k of student loans wiped clean for free! I can’t imagine how people feel that sacrificed and worked to pay for their student loans and college tuition in full. Will this be grandfathered for everyone that struggled and sacrificed to pay their loans? It certainly needs to be in some form. Maybe if you have a degree you paid for they will give that money back to you in a tax break. It is wrong to ask the taxpayers who paid their own way and struggled so much to now pay the student loan debt of others through taxes. Additionally, why would someone who never chose to go to college be willing to pay the student loans of someone else who did? They make less money as it is in most cases so this is mind boggling to say the least.

    1. I completely agree Rebecca. People have choices. I choose to live at home and go to my branch college for the first two years. I worked and paid my own tuition. I saved for my last two years (main campus was only 45 minutes away). If someone wants to go to college they don’t have to rack up debt. They can choose a more cost effective route. Eg. I got my masters at UC because it was 50% less than Xavier U. Choice not forgiveness.

  37. Thank you! We as educators also need to upgrade and provide robust infrastructure
    for rural areas within the United States. (Esp. Texas) District 10

  38. I agree with Mr. Cardona about his educational ideas. I taught for 41 years and saw dedicated professionals doing excellent work on long hard days and nights. It is hard to accomplish the same on a monitor. They are angels. Thank you all.

  39. It’s high time students are no longer treated like raw materials and the ultimate product of a business model education system. This way of teaching has been very traumatic to teachers and students.

  40. There is no digital divide. Our urban school district provided all students with a chrome book and hot spots for internet access. Stop making minority communities into victims of society. This is bias.

    1. Our great public schools are a pillar of our republic. Just as there is no equity in funding our public schools, there is no equity in the homes of our children. Your local school system may have all that is available to families, but other schools may not. Rural areas; homeless children who may be sleeping in a car; children of families who are constantly mobile, moving from one school system to another; or children who are simply on their own, struggling to get a bite of food at night. Equal funding for our great public schools is paramount in sustaining this democratic republic.

    2. Great to hear that about your district, but obviously that is only one of 13,000. Or do you really believe you are qualified to speak for all schools around the country?

    3. No, it isn’t! Lucky you if your city has bridged the divide, but there are still far too many students who do not have a laptop or high speed Internet in their homes so are not getting the same opportunities as the students in your city!

      1. My school district was lucky enough to get a grant from our local community, but far too many of my friends teach in districts where the digital divide is too real – and many of those are rural districts where internet is spotty at best – even if you have a device.

      2. Very well said……I live in Minneapolis Minnesota and the kids here have everything……go 40 miles out and the kids have nothing…….so there is a divide

      3. Agreed! As an educator in said community/schools, I witness my students experiencing this LACK every day. The “divide” is a REAL Fact.
        -8th Grade History/American Government Teacher

    4. Just because your district was able to provide all students with technology, does not mean that every district can. We have had to rely on donations of née or like new laptops along with purchases with grant funds. Many of our students have inconsistent internet too. School districts are NOT all the same.

    5. That’s not the case for every district in every state. There is definitely a digital divide in existence. It just may not be present in your neck of the woods. Facts not bias.

    6. I’t not just minority communities-rural communities suffer from lack of digital access. Many families live long distances from towns and don’t even have good cellphone access. We want digital access for ALL students. Poverty is a barrier for all types of students. I am very excited about these seven priorities. I am a retired educator who worked in under served communities-minority and rural. It’s time we put public funds into public education. I welcome Secretary Cardona and respect him and his path to this position.

    7. Your urban school district. There’s your problem right there. What about school districts in non urban environments or in urban environments with high percentages of students and families of color? Those need the help more than your district. Your district demonstrates one side of the divide and shows the divide is there.

    8. Frank, I agree that we should not portray minority communities as victims. I disagree that there is no digital divide. I’m grateful your school district has provided chrome books and hot spots for your students! I’m dismayed that you think your district’s success implies success for all. I do do not deny some Americans go hungry just because I am well-fed.

    9. I teach in a rural community where many students live on dirt roads. They don’t have devices, we don’t have devices and to provide, and even if we could, they don’t have internet access. Perhaps the minority community isn’t what you’re expecting.

    10. You’re fortunate.
      Even in my well to do district there are students who needed our help with internet connection to be able to keep up

    11. Frank,
      Have you ever thought that maybe there are children in rural areas who don’t have access to Internet?
      That’s nice that your “urban school district” does this, but the world is bigger than your school district.

    12. There is a digital divide. Many rural communities do not have internet access.
      There are also urban school districts would not as fortunate as yours and still don’t have internet access and/or computers for all students. It is not bias to determine areas in need of computers and connectivity.

    13. You don’t know what you’re talking about “Frank.” As a teacher in a fairly affluent school in a very affluent city, I still have many students who cannot reliably access the internet and stream media content, irrespective of their race.

      1. Don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. I know that when politicians start talking about the digital divide, they are talking about minority communities. They should realize that rural and suburban communities have a digital divide too. That was my point and you missed it. I’m tired of them trying to look like heroes by coming to the rescue of the poor victims in urban communities.

        1. Democrats are pushing for funding for _all_ communities to have high speed internet access. Which will be a huge benefit for rural white communities. Republicans, on the other hand, are pushing for insurrection and the canceling of democracy.

    14. Having a hot spot for internet access is great if you can get there. But maybe your parent can’t take you to that location. And then many children don’t need a hotspot as they have access from their home.
      But more important, if you live in a rural area, access hotspots might be many miles from your home. We still have many areas in our Nation where you drive right off of google maps because there is no service. Rural communities that are disperse have unique challenges.

    15. This is good that you do not have a problem but I saw a story on a news story about an ambitious homeless student had to go to McDonalds for internet.

      1. Over a quarter of our students in our small upstate NY school don’t have internet access- and there is no fast-food wifi to use either. Why would you contradict a statement you know nothing about? I, myself only can get cellphone hotspot service for internet where I live but some live where there isn’t even cell service. We have to save videos and work on flash drives to deliver to these kids homes each week. No interaction live in class, and they are perpetually a week behind kids who do have access.

    16. Just because your community does not face a lack of internet access does not mean that everyone has access to it. There are plenty of rural areas where there is no internet or cell access at a child’s home. My parent’s cannot access the internet except through their cell phone provider and not everyone can afford plans that cover wifi.

    17. Definitely great for your district. Many rural areas still have a digital divide. Many students still do not have access to technology even in urban areas in many cities and states. So it’s not bias and no one is being made to be the victim, it’s the truth.

    18. Most areas in the Mississippi delta have hotspots that do not work because they do not have towers to ping from. Even though kids may have chromebooks and hotspots, they’re still only useless devices without the broadband.

    19. There is definitely a digital divide. I’m an educator in a rural area, and almost half of our distance students don’t have access to a reliable internet connection and our staff has to do daily phone calls and drop of learning materials weekly on their personal time. It is truly a struggle to get these innocent children what they need.

    20. Despite receiving ipads with internet, my special needs students (NYC) could not access the technology from home because of a divide in knowledge of technology amongst the at-home teachers (otherwise known as parents). We need
      upgraded classroom technology with reliable internet in our school buildings to properly teach the students AND lessons for parents in after school hours. I have parents you cannot help their child with simple elementary school homework because of the language difference and illiteracy rate amongst immigrants in their home language. This is a real issue.

    21. Wonderful your district was able to do so, but this doesn’t apply to the majority of them. I am a district we’re up to 4 to 5 elementary students are sharing one device.

  41. Don’t forget Catholic Schools & Private Schools. They are in need of food,teachers and all schools
    As well as supplies.Many families can’t even read or are able to help their children of all ages .

  42. I am so EXCITED about having someone lead that walked the floors of schools, listens to us (the teachers) and TRUSTS the teachers. END high stakes testing in elementary schools!!! It is not age appropriate. Period!! Think of all that money that could be used for the children, smaller class sizes, technical classes! Bring back a focus on the ARTS!!

    1. This sounds great and is just what our public schools need. A person’s zip code shouldn’t determine what public schools can provide. Relying less heavily on test scores will alleviate test anxiety some students have. Allowing to express their knowledge in many ways will encourage creativity and growth.

    2. Glad we have someone who is an educator in the position and can relate to what going on with the school system and teachers can get paid for the job they are doing.

    3. there is defiantly a digital devise you must not be aware that students that are homeless or have parents that have Pat due bills aren’t able to obtain wifi and have to use hot spots which sometimes isn’t easy access

  43. I am excited about reducing the impact of standardization. Let’s create qualitative criteria to assess students’ critical thinking and creativity skills.

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