cardona ed sec

Nominee for Education Secretary testifies at confirmation hearing

Feb. 4, 2021
Miguel Cardona pledges to do everything he can to reopen schools safely.

Miguel Cardona, nominee for U.S. Education Secretary, breezed through his Senate confirmation hearing, winning some bipartisan support amid a contentious national political debate over reopening schools during the pandemic.

Politico reports that Cardona pledged to do “everything in our power to safely reopen schools,” vowing to take a collaborative approach to address the upheaval of the nation’s educational system and combat the inequities exacerbated by the pandemic.

Cardona called for expanded Covid surveillance testing in schools and prioritized vaccines for teachers. He also made the case for boosting federal Covid relief for education.

“If we really want to recover,” he said, “we really need to invest now or we're gonna pay later.”

Cardona’s hearing stood in contrast to the theatrics of four years ago when Betsy DeVos’ uneven performance and clashes with senators fed a groundswell of opposition to her nomination. DeVos became the first Cabinet nominee to be confirmed by the Senate on a tiebreaking vote from the vice president.

Cardona avoided nearly any contentious exchanges during questioning that was largely collegial from both sides of the aisle. His nomination appears to be on track for bipartisan support.

Sen. Richard Burr, the new top Republican on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions committee said that he planned to back Cardona’s nomination and that he was glad Biden picked him for the role.

“I will encourage all of my colleagues on my side to support you as well and to move expeditiously to have you sworn in as the next secretary of education,” Burr told Cardona.

Cardona also won plaudits during the hearing from Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) and Susan Collins of Maine for his commitment to working with them on issues facing rural schools.

The nominee told senators that he believed that educators should be prioritized for vaccinations but didn’t say it should be a condition of reopening.

He vowed to provide schools with better guidance on reopening schools. “There is no substitute for a classroom experience for our students being in front of their teacher, there is no substitute for that,” he said.

Sponsored Recommendations

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...

Room to Learn: Furniture Solutions for Education

Preparing students for the future. Utilizing our experience in the education market, we offer a dynamic selection of products that pair technology with furniture to help stimulate...

Transforming Education: A Case Study in Progressive Classroom Design

Discover how Workspace Interiors and the Baldwin School District reshaped learning environments in Long Island, New York, creating pedagogically responsive spaces that foster ...