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Thursday, February 4, 2021

5 things we learned from Miguel Cardona’s confirmation hearing - Education Votes

5 things we learned from Miguel Cardona’s confirmation hearing - Education Votes
5 things we learned from Miguel Cardona’s confirmation hearing

By Amanda Menas 

Dr. Miguel Cardona, President Biden’s nominee for Education Secretary and the first Latino to hold the position, spoke with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions during a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 2. Educators across the country were excited to hear from the former educator and union member; they know Cardona will ensure educators’ voices are heard in the Department of Education.

“Miguel Cardona’s experience as an educator was on full display today at his Senate confirmation hearing. He demonstrated deep knowledge of the many challenges our students and educators face and the just, equitable solutions we need,” said NEA President Becky Pringle.

Throughout the hearing, Secretary-designate Cardona walked the Senate Committee through his priorities for the Department of Education and students across the country, bringing his classroom experience to bear on a variety of topics. Specifically, Cardona committed to bridge gaps exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue the work after all students and educators are vaccinated and return to school buildings.

“If we really want to recover, we really need to invest now, or we’re going to pay later,” said Cardona.

Here are five things educators heard Cardona commit to during his confirmation hearing:

Cardona will bring students back to classrooms, support mental health resources

“We will work to reopen schools SAFELY, so that students can return to classrooms,” said Cardona. Students are resilient in times of crisis, noted Cardona, but they need to have the necessary support structures in place to receive the best education possible.

Cardona prioritized increasing mental health resources as central to school responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Educators take on the stressors that students are experiencing,” said Cardona. He noted specifically that President Biden endorses tripling funding for Title I, which would increase wraparound supports for students during and after the pandemic. Cardona also supported full federal funding for IDEA, which he called a “game changer” for schools and communities.

Cardona will support all LGBTQ+ Students

“It’s non-negotiable to make sure that our learning environments are places that are free of discrimination and harassment for all learners, including our LGBTQ students,” said Cardona. When asked by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) about allowing students to compete in sports regardless of gender identity, Cardona confirmed that he would uphold the civil rights of all students.

“I think that it’s critically important that the education systems and educators respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender,” Cardona said. He continued, “[it is the] legal responsibility of schools to allow students to participate in extracurricular activities, including transgender students.”

Cardona reiterated again that discrimination based on gender is illegal. His commitment to CONTINUE READING: 5 things we learned from Miguel Cardona’s confirmation hearing - Education Votes