WASHINGTON, D.C. – President-elect Joe Biden is nominating the education commissioner in Connecticut to serve as secretary of the Department of Education.
After initial reports, Biden confirmed Tuesday that he would like Miguel Cardona to take over the role that Secretary Betsy DeVos has held since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
Watch Biden introduce Cardona below:
Cardona has served as his state’s commissioner of education since August 2019. Before that, he served as assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Meriden, according to Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.
The 45-year-old began his career as an elementary school teacher and served as a school principal for 10 years. He also taught for four years as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Leadership.
Cardona is a low-profile candidate who The Washington Post says has pushed to reopen schools and hasn’t been aligned with any particular side in recent education policy battles. When schools moved to remote learning this year, The Associated Press reports Cardona hurried to deliver more than 100,000 laptops to students across The Constitution State.
In his announcement, Biden said Cardona will lead the administration’s efforts to invest in all students, support educators, and make reopening schools safely a national priority. They hope to safely reopen the majority of classrooms within the first 100 days of Biden’s term.
Biden says Cardona will strive to eliminate long-standing inequities and close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps — as well as expand access to community colleges, training and public four-year colleges and universities to improve student success and grow a stronger middle class.
Cardona’s parents are from Puerto Rico. If confirmed by the Senate, he would be another diverse member of the administration’s Cabinet, which Biden has promised will be the most diverse in U.S. history.
Biden issued this statement about Cardona:
“In Miguel Cardona, America will have an experienced and dedicated public school teacher leading the way at the Department of Education — ensuring that every student is equipped to thrive in the economy of the future, that every educator has the resources they need to do their jobs with dignity and success, and that every school is on track to reopen safely. He will help us address systemic inequities, tackle the mental health crisis in our education system, give educators a well-deserved raise, ease the burden of education debt, and secure high-quality, universal pre-K for every three- and four-year-old in the country. As a lifelong champion of public education, he understands that our children are the kite strings that keep our national ambitions aloft — and that everything that will be possible for our country tomorrow will be thanks to the investments we make and the care that our educators and our schools deliver today.”
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris issued this statement:
“Even as we work to reopen our schools safely and responsibly, we also need to build a public education system that lifts up all Americans, regardless of race, background, or zipcode. Miguel Cardona is not only an experienced public servant, he is also a former public school teacher and administrator who understands what our students, teachers, and schools need to be successful. From making universal pre-K a reality for three- and four-year-olds to ending the status quo where school districts with the greatest needs get the fewest resources to making college more affordable, Miguel will help make sure all of our students have the knowledge and skills to thrive in a 21st century economy. And I look forward to working alongside him to help every child reach their God-given potential.”