(TheFreedomFlag.com)- Former teacher Miguel Cardona has been confirmed to lead the Department of Education under President Joe Biden.
On Monday, the Senate voted 64-33 to confirm Cardona, who served as Connecticut’s education commissioner. He’ll succeed Betsy DeVos, who served as the secretary of Education for former President Donald Trump.
During his confirmation hearings in committee, which ended on February 11, five Republicans opposed his official nomination.
Not surprisingly, a large number of questions hurled his way were about operating schools during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some grilled Cardona about not taking a firm and official position on whether standardized testing should continue during the pandemic.
Almost all schools across the country are trying to figure out how to get students back to full-time in-person learning safely. For all of this school year and large parts of last spring, schools have either had fully virtual learning or some hybrid version of virtual and in-person.
With coronavirus cases in America waning and vaccinations increasing, schools are looking for guidance and direction as to how they can return to in-person learning.
Part of that pathway to a full in-person return to schools will be based off potential funding these schools could get from the federal government. That is on hold for now, though, as Congress continues to debate Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package.
Congressional Democrats say they’d like to get the package passed through using budget reconciliation in two weeks, before some coronavirus-related economic programs are about to expire. Included in the proposed bill is a large sum of money — $130 billion in total — to help schools re-open safely.
During his hearing, Cardona pledged that he would “work to reopen schools safely” were he to be confirmed as Education secretary.
As the head of the Department of Education, Cardona doesn’t have the official power to force public schools to reopen. However, he can serve a central role in trying to meet Biden’s goal of having schools reopen for a full school week within his first 100 days in office.
In Connecticut, Cardona gained national attention for his efforts to try to fully reopen the schools there. During his confirmation hearing, he said there are “great examples throughout our country of schools that have been able to reopen safely.”
Remarks like those actually endeared Republicans to Cardona, who like the fact that he is pushing for students to return to school. Some Republicans are even eyeing Cardona as a possible ally in their push to add more charter schools.
At the same time, public school teachers are seeing him as a good partner because of his years of experience teaching in the public school system. This made him a particularly solid nomination for the position — since he can garner support from many of the major players involved in education.
Cardona spent 20 years teaching in the same district he attended when he was a child in Meriden, Connecticut. He then was appointed in 2019 to lead the education department in Connecticut.
Now, only at 45 years old, Cardona will lead the federal Department of Education.