Miguel Cardona, the former Connecticut commissioner of education, was confirmed as the next U.S. secretary of education on Monday.
The former educator was approved on a 64-33 vote, according to NBC News. He will face the tremendous task of guiding schools to reopen for in-class learning. In the coronavirus pandemic’s unprecedented times, millions of students from elementary school through high school have been learning virtually for close to a year.
Cardona gained attention for his efforts to reopen schools in his home state. In the fall, he led school openings in all but one district with some form of in-person learning, reports The Washington Post.
During his confirmation hearing in February, Cardona said, “We have examples throughout our country of schools that are able to reopen safely and do so while following mitigation strategies.”
Cardona has a long history within the public school system, a criteria President Biden wanted for his nominee. According to the Connecticut Department of Education, Cardona first served as an elementary school teacher, then as a principal before becoming the first Latino to serve as education commissioner in the state. His parents migrated to Connecticut from Puerto Rico; his first language was Spanish and proved to add an extra struggle during his early childhood learning.
Cardona is committed to helping underserved students, tackling disparities and restructuring our school system to be more inclusive.