A Latino Could Be Biden’s Secretary of Education

Miguel Cardona BeLatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of cnn.com

It has never been more pleasant to write seeming “repetitive” stories than it has been since President-elect Joe Biden has begun announcing his candidates for his cabinet.

This time, the nominee for secretary of education is another low-profile but promising Latino.

According to the Washington Post, Biden is poised to nominate Connecticut’s public school commissioner, Miguel Cardona, as his education secretary, choosing a nominee with no political leanings but with an ideal temper to make up for the lost ground of the last four years.

Miguel Cardona was named to Connecticut’s top schools last year and, if confirmed, will become one of the most influential Latinos in the country after a “meteoric” rise, as the Post describes him.

Born in Meriden to Puerto Rican parents, Cardona grew up in public housing and began his career as a fourth-grade teacher. He rose to become the state’s youngest principal at age 28 and was named the state’s principal of the year in 2012.

Although sources close to Biden’s decision said the offer was not final, Cardona met virtually with Biden, his wife, Jill Biden, and Vice President-Elect Kamala D. Harris on Monday.

If he takes office, Cardona’s challenge will be no less than Biden’s, knowing that there are many mistakes to repair and deadlines to meet.

As a candidate, Biden promised to elect a public school educator as secretary, raising expectations that the nominee would come from the K-12 world. Cardona’s experience and background make a vast difference with Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who not only attended private schools but is unaware of the reality of most Americans when it comes to trying to access the education system.

As reported by NPR, Cardona has the support of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, in addition to having demonstrated his tenacity during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Much of Cardona’s recent tenure has focused on reopening the state’s schools during the pandemic. According to the local newspaper, The Connecticut Mirror, about one-third of the state’s public school students can attend school in person full time. Like many state and district leaders across the country, Cardona has been balancing teachers’ unions and parents’ demands amid budget constraints.

“Yes, we’re in a health pandemic, but this is also an education emergency,” he told The Mirror in August. We have to really double down and put our heads together to do what’s best for kids and for the community. And that includes making sure that health and safety stay at the top of the conversation.”