Senate Confirms Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education

Cardona promises to help reopen schools but said much

President-Elect Joe Biden And Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Announce Miguel Cardona As Hhe Nominee For Education Secretary
Joshua Roberts

The U.S. Senate Monday confirmed Miguel Cardona as President Joe Biden's Secretary of Education by a vote of 64 to 33.

Cardona, 45, of Meriden, became Connecticut's state education chief in 2019 after spending years as a teacher and administrator in the Meriden public school district, where he went to school as a child.

In his new role, Cardona has said he will help reopen schools. But he believes much of the hardest work will come after children are back in classrooms as schools confront long-standing disparities worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Connecticut should be very proud today. One of our own, a public school teacher from Meriden who rose to lead our state’s education system, will now serve as the U.S. Secretary of Education,” Sen. Chris Murphy said just after Cardona received enough votes for confirmation. “Dr. Cardona is a public servant. He’s a consensus builder. And he’s uniquely qualified to help our schools re-open safely, address the gaps that this pandemic has exacerbated among students, and tackle racial inequities in our education system. I look forward to working closely with him on these urgent challenges.”

“This is an incredible moment for Connecticut, as someone who was educated in our public schools and went on to lead a successful teaching career in those very schools has been confirmed to be our nation’s top education advisor," Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement. "I’m feeling bittersweet emotions today knowing that our administration is saying farewell to someone who has been a wonderful commissioner, but we’re also gaining ally on the national stage. Miguel, his family, the Meriden public school system, and everyone at the State Department of Education should feel immense pride today. This is a remarkable opportunity for Miguel, and I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of Connecticut’s students as he transitions to this new role.”

During his nomination hearing, Cardona said that education opened doors for him. While that is the power of promise, that promise is not kept for every student, and he wants to make sure that education is a "door to opportunity" for all students.

In his testimony, Cardona called this school year one of the most challenging in American history and said it has taken a tremendous toll on students, parents and educators. The father of two high school students added that he has “lived those challenges alongside millions of families.”

Cardona emphasized his goals to open schools safely, "boldly address education inequities head-on," remove "silos" in education and set high school graduates on the path to college and career opportunities.

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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