WASHINGTON — NEA President Becky Pringle released the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Dr. Miguel Cardona as the next U.S. Secretary of Education:
“When a record number of Americans turned out to vote for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, they sent a resounding message demanding justice, stronger public schools and more opportunities for all students — Black and white, Native and newcomer, Hispanic and Asian alike.
“In these tough times, students, educators, and families face unprecedented challenges — from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis to the systemic racism that has held back too many students for too long. We look forward to partnering with Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona in taking on these challenges together.
“As a former public-school teacher, he understands what’s at stake for students and promises to respect the voice ofeducators as we work to safely reopen school buildings, colleges, and university campuses, while also forging a path to transform public education into a racially and socially just and equitable system that is designed to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.
“Dr. Cardona will help fulfill President-elect Biden’s promises to make community college free, tackle the student debt crisis, and enable college graduates to pursue careers in education and public service by expanding and simplifying the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs.
“Secretary-designate Cardona is someone who respects educators as the professionals that they are, will listen to our experiences as the people who know the names of our students, and ensure that we have a voice in developing and implementing education policy.
“As someone who has experience as a fourth-grade teacher in a public-school classroom and later being named Connecticut’s principal of the year, he understands that educators go above and beyond to help students succeed.
“Through his lived experiences and work as an educator, Secretary-designate Cardona knows that we must make improvements for our students both inside and outside the ‘schoolhouse’ by tackling issues such as ‘housing insecurity, hunger, and economic instability,’ to help our students succeed.
“Unlike Betsy DeVos, Secretary-designate Cardona will ensure that the federal government’s role in education is to ensure access and opportunity for every student. He is someone who will defend our students’ civil rights and focus on the success of all students. And he will work collaboratively to promote proven education models such as community schools and policies that provide whole student support.
“Secretary-designate Cardona has the compassion and life experiences that are needed as the next secretary of educationand I look forward to partnering with him to ensure every student gets what they need and deserve.”
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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.