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Cardona to Go Before Senate This Week

February 1, 2021

The Senate education committee will take up confirmation of President Biden’s pick for education secretary, Miguel Cardona, on Wednesday, the committee announced.

Patty Murray, the Democratic chair on the committee, has already backed the nomination of Cardona, formerly Connecticut’s commissioner of education.

“It’s clear that he is an excellent choice for Secretary of Education who will bring the right experience and priorities to the role,” Murray said in a statement Jan. 13 after a phone conversation with Cardona. “As a fourth grade teacher, principal, superintendent, professor and Education Commissioner of Connecticut, he has always been focused on ensuring every student -- no matter their zip code, the language they speak, their race, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability -- can reach their full potential,” she said.

“Dr. Cardona’s personal story of growing up in public housing and learning English as a second language is a testament to the power of public education, and has driven him to champion the needs of students of color, students from families with low incomes, and English learners throughout his career,” Murray said.

Thus far, Cardona’s nomination has not been controversial. Spokespeople for key Republicans on the committee declined comment when asked if they have problems with his nomination. “I’ve got lots of potential concerns about the Biden agenda and questions about Cardona’s experience and perspective, but no real ‘concerns,’” said Frederick Hess, director of education policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

“Cardona’s a likable figure who doesn’t obviously rub anybody wrong. He has a heartwarming personal story,” Hess wrote in an op-ed in Forbes. “He grew up in a housing project, learned English as a second language, attended public colleges, and went on to be Connecticut’s youngest principal. He says it’s vital to get kids back to school, speaks passionately about supporting vulnerable kids, and waxes enthusiastically about public education. There’s something there for pretty much everyone.”

However, he said that as the Trump administration’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, did, Cardona may face questions about how his experience prepares him to run the mammoth department.

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