Little Consensus in Washington on New Education Secretary

With former Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona’s focus on low-income K-12 students comes a lack of higher ed experience

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardonas LinkedIn profile picture

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s LinkedIn profile picture

Alba Alizoti, Correspondent

As the Biden Administration settles into the White House and embarks on its first 100 days, one of the first orders of business is the confirmation and swearing-in of Biden’s cabinet picks. One of these picks comes straight from our home in Connecticut, education commissioner Miguel Cardona.

Cardona went through the Meriden public school system, then went on to Central Connecticut State University and UConn for his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. His focus has always been K-12 education, with Cardona calling it “the great equalizer.” 

Within Connecticut prior to his nomination, he pushed heavily for the reopening of schools, as he feared low-income students would fall behind. This is reflective of a majority of his policy, which focuses heavily on helping low-income K-12 students.

As for his stance on higher education, Cardona was an ex-officio member of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities Board of Regents and often speaks out on the value of higher education. Given the Biden administration’s pledge to make community college free and public universities tuition-free for families making under $125,000 a year, along with the looming student loan crisis, higher education is a hot topic. Despite Cardona’s words praising higher education, however, he has little actual experience in higher education, which is a concern for many.

Advocates in Washington have come to a consensus that little is known regarding Cardona and his views on higher education, with Robert Shireman, President Obama’s deputy education secretary, saying that his appointment highlights a need for strong advisers on higher education. 

Quite the contrast to his predecessor Betsy DeVos, Miguel Cardona comes into office with experience and inside knowledge of the public education system. However, with his expertise in K-12 comes a lack of depth in higher education. As such, the consensus, although currently optimistic, is still out and awaits to see the work he will do.

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