Biden announces Connecticut commissioner Cardona as Education nominee


President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday formally announced Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona as his nominee to head the U.S. Department of Education.

Cardona, who is the first Latino education commissioner in Connecticut, has worked as an elementary school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, fulfilling Biden’s promise to tap someone with experience in public education. His nomination also adds to the diversity the president-elect vowed to have in his administration, being the third Latino Cabinet nominee. 

“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,” Biden said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

Should he be confirmed by the Senate, Cardona will tackle Biden’s ambitious education plan to resume in-person classroom learning during the first 100 days of his presidency as well as boost teacher pay, reverse civil rights policies implemented under the Trump administration and other priorities.

“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,” Biden said.

Cardona’s nomination follows a lobbying campaign by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who wrote to Biden’s transition this week pressing him to tap the Connecticut official.

Cardona beat out teachers union leaders, superintendents and other education officials for the role, which Biden had made a focus on the campaign trail. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos emerged as a chief boogeyman for Biden during the White House race as he railed against her vocal support for private schools and efforts to undermine Title IX, the federal civil rights law protecting people from discrimination based on sex in education programs.

The nomination was met with applause from education groups that praised Cardona’s experience working in public schools.

“Miguel Cardona is not just a proud product of public schools—he’s made strengthening public education and fighting for equity his life’s work. With his experience as a student, fourth-grade teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and commissioner in Connecticut, Dr. Cardona—a former AFT member—will transform the Education Department to help students thrive, a reversal of the DeVos disaster of the last four years,” said American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten.

Tags Betsy DeVos Joe Biden Miguel Cardona
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