Every four years, during the election cycle for the highest office available in the United States, the candatides rally their supporters and build up hype for their potential presidency. After months and months of wild promises, traded barbs, shaking hands, and kissing babies, the nation sits on the edge of its seat on a Tuesday night, waiting for a final decision to be made. The president is elected. Some celebrate while others lament. It seems like the excitement is over.
But it isn’t, not really. Even before being sworn in, the President-Elect already has one of their most important decisions to make.
The President-elect must choose who will make up their cabinet. The members of the cabinet fill important positions, including one that directly impacts schools and their student’s: Secretary of Education. So who will fill the position next?
President-elect Biden has nominated Miguel Cordona to fill the spot. He still must be confirmed by the Senate, but has been named as the incoming Biden Administration’s nominee for the position.
Cordona began his 22 years in education as an elementary school teacher in Connecticut. After 10 years, he became a principal in the same school system that he both attended and taught in. Cardona went on to become the Assistant Superintendent for Meriden Public Schools, and later the Education Commissioner for the state of Connecticut. He served as the vice president of the Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (CALAS) for a time, and has a master’s degree in bilingual and bicultural education.
Cordona and President-elect Biden have a shared goal of reopening schools shut down in the wake of the pandemic early on in the administration. Cordona believes that it can be done so safely, and that in-person learning will provide a better opportunity to close a gap between disadvantaged students that has become blatantly obvious during online instruction.
“If we provide safe in-person learning options for students, whenever possible, we can ensure we are doing everything in our control to level the educational playing field and reduce gaps in opportunities for our students,” Cordona wrote in an op-ed to the NewsTimes. “If we can do it safely, this is what we owe to them. It has been made apparent through frequent communication from health experts that our schools have consistently been among the best implementers of mitigation strategies and that contact tracing patterns show that there is not widespread transmission in schools.”
Cardona will also focus on equality in education if confirmed by the Senate. He grew up as an English language learner, and has focused on bilingual and bicultural education in the past. His goal is to further the closing of the educational gaps caused by socioeconomic, cultural, and lingual disparities.
If confirmed by the Senate, Miguel Cordona will be the 12th Secretary of Education for the United States. Evelyn Robles-Rivas, president of CALAS, is confident that Cordona is perfect for the position. “President-elect Biden could not have picked a better candidate. He is a great listener, an amazing team player and he’s always looking out for the best interest of students.”
(Facts and info from EdSurge)