President Joe Biden has nominated Miguel Cardona, the head of Connecticut's public school system, to be secretary of the Department of Education. He was nominated on December 22, 2020, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted to advance Cardona's nomination on February 11, 2021 for a vote by the full Senate.
As education secretary, Cardona will be a member of Biden's cabinet and will oversee the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). The DOE's goal is to advance educational excellence across the country and to ensure equal access. Among other initiatives, the work of the $68 billion-budget department includes implementing policies for federal financial aid, as well as collecting and disseminating data on America's schools, prohibiting discrimination, and ensuring equal access to education.
Cardona, a native of Connecticut, has most recently served as the state's commissioner of education. In that position, which he has held since August 2019, Cardona has argued for the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prevent equity gaps from growing wider.
Cardona has enjoyed bipartisan support for the position of top education official in the U.S. His goals for the DOE under his leadership include reopening schools, removing silos in education, and promoting college accessibility to every student.
Early Career and Education
Prior to his service as Connecticut's education commissioner, Cardona spent two decades as a public school teacher and administrator. He began as an elementary school teacher and was later principal and assistant superintendent in his home state. He has also been co-chairperson of the Connecticut Legislative Achievement Gap Task Force, and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut.
Cardona holds a bachelors degree in education from Central Connecticut State University and masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Connecticut.