Miguel Cardona sworn in as U.S. Secretary of Education


The Senate voted 64-33, making former public school teacher Miguel Cardona secretary of education. The swearing ceremony took place Monday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. He’s under the public’s microscope to help school districts with their transition back to safe in-person learning.

COVID-19 has been tough on not only students but teachers and parents as well. The disruption of the pandemic is one of the biggest challenges the US education system has faced thus far. It has made the biggest impact on students that come from low-income families and students of color.

Cardona began his career within Connecticut’s public education system as a fourth-grade teacher in Meriden, in the same district where he attended school. Cardona became a principal and then assistant superintendent of the district before being named state commissioner in 2019.

President Joe Biden pledged to reopen most schools by May, within his first 100 days in office while pushing Congress to approve another $170 billion in education funding. Cardona pledged to provide a clear reopening plan based on science, following a strategy that should call for increased surveillance COVID-19 testing for educators and give them priority to receive the vaccine.

Under Cardona’s leadership, the Education Department is also planning to reverse some of DeVos’ regulatory actions concerning civil rights policy, sexual assault on college campuses, and protections for student loan borrowers defrauded by for-profit colleges.

“I don’t think we need to be bringing students in just to test them on a standardized test. I don’t think that makes any sense,” Cardona said. Yet he also pointed to the importance of the tests. “If we don’t assess where our students are — and their level of performance — it’s going to be difficult for us to provide some targeted support and a resource allocation in a manner that can best support the closing of the gaps that have been exacerbated due to the pandemic.”

This is a challenging role to take on at a time like this. He’s facing an enormous amount of pressure from progressives to cancel some student loan debt. Biden claims he supports canceling up to $10,000 per borrower but wants the move to come from Congress.