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Biden cabinet confirmation: Miguel Cardona is education secretary

Miguel Cardona takes cost as many Individuals stay divided on whether or not it is secure to completely reopen faculties.

The video above is from Dec. 23, 2020.

The Senate voted Monday to substantiate Miguel Cardona as schooling secretary, clearing his method to lead President Joe Biden’s effort to reopen the nation’s faculties amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cardona, 45, a former public faculty trainer who went on to turn into Connecticut’s schooling chief, was permitted on a 64-33 vote.

He takes cost of the Schooling Division amid mounting pressure between Individuals who imagine college students can safely return to the classroom now, and others who say the dangers are nonetheless too nice.

Though his place carries restricted authority to pressure faculties to reopen, Cardona can be requested to play a central position in reaching Biden’s aim to have a majority of elementary faculties open 5 days every week inside his first 100 days. He can be tasked with guiding faculties by the reopening course of, and sharing greatest practices on how you can train throughout a pandemic.

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention final month launched a street map for getting college students again into school rooms safely. The company stated masks, social distancing and different methods must be used, however vaccination of academics was not a prerequisite for reopening.

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Cardona, who gained consideration for his efforts to reopen faculties in Connecticut, has vowed to make it his high precedence to reopen faculties. At his Senate affirmation listening to final month, he stated there are “nice examples all through our nation of colleges which have been in a position to reopen safely.”

The talk has turn into a political firestorm for Biden, who’s caught between competing pursuits as he goals to get college students into the classroom with out frightening the highly effective academics unions that helped put him within the White Home. He says his aim of returning college students to the classroom is feasible if Congress approves his aid plan, which incorporates $130 billion for the nation’s faculties.

Republicans have rebuked Biden for failing to reopen faculties quicker, whereas academics unions opposed the administration’s resolution to proceed with federally required standardized assessments throughout the pandemic.

The tough terrain is nothing new for Cardona, nevertheless, who confronted comparable pressure navigating the pandemic in Connecticut, and who has received early reward even from Biden’s critics.

Republicans in Congress have applauded Cardona’s efforts to reopen faculties in Connecticut, and a few see him as a possible ally of their assist for constitution faculties. Lecturers, in the meantime, see him as a accomplice who brings years of expertise in schooling and is aware of the calls for of the educating.

The nomination continues a meteoric rise for Cardona, who was appointed to steer Connecticut’s schooling division in 2019 after spending 20 years working in Meriden, Connecticut, public faculties — the identical district he attended as a baby.

He started his profession as a fourth grade trainer earlier than turning into the state’s youngest principal at age 28. In 2012, he was named Connecticut’s principal of the yr, and in 2015 he grew to become an assistant superintendent of the district. When he was appointed state schooling commissioner, he grew to become the primary Latino to carry the put up.

Cardona grew up in a public housing venture in Meriden, raised by mother and father who got here to Connecticut from Puerto Rico as kids. By his profession, he has targeted on closing schooling gaps and supporting bilingual schooling. It’s a private subject for Cardona, who says he spoke solely Spanish when he entered kindergarten and struggled to study English.

Cardona was the primary in his household to graduate from school, and his three levels embody a doctorate in schooling from the College of Connecticut. He and his spouse, Marissa, have two kids in highschool.

His deep roots in public education match the factors Biden was on the lookout for in an schooling secretary. Throughout his marketing campaign, Biden vowed to select a secretary with expertise in public schooling. It was meant to attract a distinction with then-secretary Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire who spent a long time advocating for varsity alternative insurance policies.

In an more and more fractionalized world of schooling, Cardona has vowed to be a unifier. At his affirmation listening to, he promised to interact with “the huge, various neighborhood of people that have a stake in schooling.” He added that, “we acquire power from becoming a member of collectively.”

As he works to assist faculties reopen, he can even be tasked with serving to them handle the injury the pandemic has accomplished on scholar studying. He has echoed Biden’s name for additional schooling funding, saying faculties might want to broaden summer time tutorial packages and rent extra counselors to assist college students with psychological well being points.

He is additionally more likely to face an early take a look at as he weighs how a lot flexibility to grant states as they administer standardized assessments. Final week, the Schooling Division ordered states to proceed with annual testing however stated assessments could possibly be supplied on-line or delayed till fall. The company additionally held out the likelihood that states could possibly be granted “further evaluation flexibility” in sure instances.

Some states are already pushing for that additional flexibility, together with Michigan, which is asking to switch state assessments with native “benchmark” assessments that have been administered this yr. It is going to be as much as Cardona to determine how a lot leniency to supply.

Republicans have additionally set the stage for a combat over transgender athletes. Finally month’s listening to, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised objections with insurance policies that permit transgender ladies to take part in ladies’ athletics. It’s the topic of a authorized battle in Connecticut, the place some cisgender athletes are difficult a state coverage that lets transgender college students take part as their recognized gender.

Pressed by Paul to take a stance on the problem, Cardona stated he would assist the correct of “all college students, together with college students who’re transgender.”

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