Senate Committee Advances Nomination of Dr. Miguel Cardona for U.S. Secretary Of Education

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The United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted Thursday to advance the nomination of Dr. Miguel Cardona for U.S. Secretary Of Education.

Cardona, of Meriden, has served as Connecticut’s commissioner since August 2019.

“Dr. Cardona is a proven, collaborative leader, a champion for public schools, and an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education through the challenges ahead,” U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-WA. chair of the HELP Committee, said in a statement.

“Dr. Cardona has a background, qualifications, temperament to serve as Secretary Of Education,” U.S. Senator Richard Burr, R-NC, said Thursday. “He stressed the need for students to get back in school and that’s now finally a bipartisan mission.“

Watch Burr’s statement here.

President Joe Biden nominated Cardona, who is promising to help reopen schools but says much of the hardest work will come after that as schools try to address long-standing disparities worsened by the pandemic.

Cardona's nomination passed in committee, 17 to five.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-CT, is a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and voted Thursday to advance Cardona’s nomination, which he said will now head to the U.S. Senate floor for confirmation.

“My friend Miguel will make a great Secretary of Education—and that’s evident by today’s overwhelming vote in committee. Miguel is respected by both Democrats and Republicans alike, and has a plan to put our students and educators first. He is committed to making sure schools operate safely as we navigate out of the pandemic and addressing the inequities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19. I look forward to a quick, bipartisan vote in the Senate to confirm his nomination,” Murphy said.

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

Cardona emphasized his goals to open schools safely, "boldly address education inequities head-on," to remove "silos" in education and for graduation from high school to provide paths to college and career opportunities.

Cardona, 45, became Connecticut's state education chief in 2019 after spending years as a teacher and administrator in the public school district in Meriden, Connecticut, which he also attended as a child. If confirmed, he is expected to play a pivotal role in supporting schools as they recover from a crisis that has laid bare many of their shortcomings.

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.”

On his list of priorities, reopening schools is only the start. He promised to “remove silos” in education and promote innovation, make college accessible to any student and strengthen community colleges.

Gov. Ned Lamont congratulated Cardona.

“I congratulate our friend Dr. Miguel Cardona on the committee approval of his nomination to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. This is the latest step toward our country having a true ambassador for public education efforts across the nation,” Lamont said in a statement. “The committee on a bipartisan basis recognized what we have known in Connecticut for a while – Dr. Cardona is a tireless advocate for children, understands the classroom as a former educator, and how schools operate from the top down as an administrator. I look forward to seeing the full U.S. Senate confirming his nomination.”

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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