May 23, 2024


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Cardona testifies on COVID and reopening educational facilities at affirmation listening to

Washington outsider Miguel Cardona, President Biden‘s nominee to lead the Education Department confronted difficult issues at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, on political incredibly hot-button problems like university student financial loan forgiveness, transgender participation in women’s sporting activities and most urgent: how to make great on Mr. Biden’s assure to reopen colleges within 100 days of his inauguration. If verified, the Connecticut instruction commissioner will inherit an academic disaster introduced on by the coronavirus pandemic.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Biden Cabinet Education

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Biden Cabinet Schooling

Education and learning Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona questioned all through confirmation listening to


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“We’re below these days in the midst of a person of the most tough college many years in American historical past,” Cardona mentioned Wednesday in his opening assertion. “For significantly too quite a few of our college students, this yr has piled on crisis right after disaster.” He did not offer numerous distinct strategies about how to return young children to university but did say that educators must be prioritized for vaccine distribution.

Small was regarded about Cardona’s views on significant schooling policy problems, because the previous general public university trainer only entered the national public eye in December when Biden introduced his nomination to lead the Instruction Division. Cardona, who started his job as a fourth-quality instructor, immediately rose by means of the administrative ranks. In August 2019, he was appointed to lead Connecticut’s Education Office, getting to be the initial Latino to keep the position.

Miguel Cardona wearing a suit and tie: Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies at his Senate confirmation hearing on February 3, 2021. / Credit: CBS News

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Education and learning Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies at his Senate confirmation hearing on February 3, 2021. / Credit: CBS Information

In that position, Cardona invested a lot of his time taking care of the havoc the pandemic has wreaked on the state’s faculties. As Connecticut’s training commissioner, Cardona pushed faculties to reopen, citing expanding achievement gaps that remote discovering has only created worse.


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“Yes, we are in a overall health pandemic, but this is also an schooling crisis,” Cardona explained in an interview with The Connecticut Mirror in August. “We have to speed up our initiatives because COVID accelerated disparities.”

As of December 2020, about 20% of Connecticut’s college students ended up studying either totally or mostly in particular person and a minimal more than 40% ended up in university through a hybrid design, in accordance to details from the state. All through his confirmation hearing, Cardona attributed that accomplishment to “normal and intentional” interaction in between his workplace, union leaders, parents, and educators.

“We were being open up and clear with what we understood, and we built positive that we partnered with our health and fitness authorities early on,” Cardona said. “We all partnered alongside one another.”

In December, Mr. Biden promised “that the bulk of our faculties can be open by the stop of my initial 100 days,” an ambitious intention that Mr. Biden later on mentioned only used to K-8 students and not people in superior faculty. In an job interview with Connecticut Community Radio last week, Cardona mentioned that as education secretary, he’d draw on his encounter reopening Connecticut’s schools and listening to well being professionals.

“We need to have to have a quite close partnership with our wellbeing office,” Cardona said. “At the national amount, that’s critically significant that we do the job with CDC, that we operate with Well being and Human Products and services to make positive that the selections that are currently being built all-around educational institutions are in line with what we know to protect individuals. That partnership matters.”

Cardona was also pressed on his views surrounding pupil bank loan financial debt. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who proposed forgiving up to $50,000 in university student loan financial debt through the 2020 presidential primaries, urged Cardona to contemplate “administrative cancellation of student mortgage personal debt.”

Cardona agreed that student mortgage financial debt locations a “considerable impact” on borrowers’ lives and agreed with Warren that the federal governing administration should really provide “debtors with immediate relief,” but failed to give any further more facts.

Formerly, Cardona said tackling university student credit card debt “would be a priority” and he was “thoroughly in help” of the president’s prepare to back again congressional motion that would terminate $10,000 of college student personal debt for each borrower. He also stated he would operate with Congress on “a system that gives some reduction to our learners in greater training.”

Very last 12 months federal university student loan credit card debt achieved an all-time significant, nearing $1.6 trillion amongst more than 40 million Us residents, according to the Federal Reserve Lender of New York. On normal, student loan borrowers owe among $200 and $299 each individual month, an sum that for quite a few can be untenable about 1 in each 5 debtors is in default, in accordance to the Instruction Department.

A handful of Republican Senators, including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Utah Senator Mitt Romney, pressed Cardona on his sights surrounding who must be permitted to participate in women’s athletics, asking no matter whether transgender athletes should be afforded that suitable.

“I imagine educational facilities should really provide the opportunity for students to interact in extracurricular functions even if they are transgender — I assume that is their proper,” Cardona mentioned.

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