Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s first Latina Commissioner of Education, is poised to become the nation’s next Education Secretary – an election that followed President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, the presidential election that left anyone with public school experience Satisfies the campaign to appoint. Criticized for championing private schools and being an out-of-touch billionaire.
If confirmed, Cardona would be the first Puerto Rican and second Latina Secretary of Education after Lavo Cavazos, who served in the Reagan and Bush administrations.
“Miguel Cardona is a visionary, humble and experienced teacher who will lead the Department of Education from the Davosian wilderness and move toward excellence,” said NBC News, president of Reps Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Estella Lopez, vice chairman of the Connecticut State Board of Education, said she began to cry when she was informed of Cardona’s possible nomination early Tuesday morning.
“It was very similar to me when Justice Sonia Sotomayor was appointed because it is so important and symbolic,” said Lopez, who is also a senior associate at nonprofit Excellence in Education. “Like Sotomayor, Cardona grew up in projects. When he went to school, he did not speak English. His life story is very compelling.”
Cardona, 45, was appointed to the top education post in Connecticut in August 2019. Lopez said she remembers the impression she interviewed for the position.
Lopez said, “He did an excellent interview. He was a knowledgeable person, but he is a humble human being. He is not someone who has qualifications, experiences and values.”
When the Kovid-19 epidemic began in March and schools were forced to transition to distance education, Cardona helped provide more than 100,000 laptops to students in Connecticut. However, he has been an avid advocate for reopening schools, worried that the epidemic would widen the educational achievement gap between students of color and their white classmates, as well as leaving English-language learners behind.
Both issues face enduring conflicts in Connecticut, one of the nation’s most widespread achievement gaps.
“He understands the challenges,” Lopez said. “The one who knows how to do great, identifies best practices and learns from them.” He said that Cardona has worked closely with the Governor of Connecticut, Ned LaMont, to promote face-to-face learning opportunities in the classroom.
Cardona’s ideas are in line with Biden’s plan to reopen most American schools by the end of his first 100 days in office. Biden is promising new federal guidelines on school opening decisions and an “extensively” Department of Education effort to identify and share the best ways to teach during an epidemic.
From bilingual public school student to education leader
Cardona, whose parents were from Puerto Rico, was raised in a housing project in Meriden, Connecticut, and spoke Spanish when he entered the city’s public schools.
Lopez said, “One of the challenges of bilingual education is that people who are bilingual should know less than to accept that we know two languages. We can have one pronunciation, but we know two languages Huh.” “We know more, we don’t know less. He understands that and the importance of emphasizing both languages.”
In 1998, Cardona returned to the public school system, which he attended as a child, this time as a fourth-grade teacher. At age 28, he became the youngest principal in the state before working as an assistant superintendent for the district, NBC Connectors reported.
Cardona became assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in 2013, after serving as school principal for a decade. He also served as co-chairman of the Connecticut Legislative Achievement Gap Task Force, as well as co-chairman of the Connecticut Birth to Grade Three. Leader Council. He taught for four years as an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Leadership according to his official biography. After graduating from Central Connecticut State University, he completed a master’s in bilingual and scientific education and earned a doctorate in education.
In the midst of his efforts to reopen schools in Connecticut this year, Cardona succeeded in garnering support from teachers unions in the state.
“When selected as Secretary of Education, Dr. Cardona will be a positive force for public education – light-years ahead of the dismal Betsy DeVos track record,” the board of the Education Association Coalition, which employs over 60,000 public school employees Represents, said a statement this month.
“His experience as a teacher and administrator of Miguel Cardona has been considered significant for his achievements as Connecticut Education Commissioner. He has been tested by the unprecedented turmoil caused by the epidemic. While this challenge has been a stony road Is – and many issues are unresolved – teachers. And the school’s support staff have praised their openness and cooperation, “the union said.
Cardona was supported by the Congress-backed Hispanic Caucus, which pressured Biden to appoint more Latino to cabinet positions, a mission that remains beyond Cardona’s nomination.
“We will continue to push for a Latina to serve in President Biden’s cabinet. The transition team is aware of many talented and well-qualified Latinas for various cabinet positions,” Castro said.
In a letter to Biden this month, the caucus cited Cardona’s accomplishments and said he “fully faces the challenges that Second Language (ESL) learners, Latino, and other minority students face in America’s classrooms.” Come. “
As a bilingual education leader, Lopez sees Cardona’s potential appointment as a meaningful achievement.
“I know that when people listen to my accent, they think less of me, you know, like a second-rate citizen,” she said. “So now look at someone who represents me to be appointed secretary of education, while also bringing credibility to that position as well as knowledge and care, someone who is passionate about education – it’s incredible Is stronger than. “
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