Biden to tap Miguel Cardona as next education secretary, reports say

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Miguel A. Cardona to serve as his next education secretary, making him the first Latino to hold the position, multiple media outlets reported.

The 45-year-old commissioner of Connecticut public schools has pushed to safely reopen schools amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and is widely viewed as a low-profile candidate who has remained neutral in the face of politically charged education policy battles in recent years, The Washington Post reported.

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Born in Meriden, Connecticut, to Puerto Rican parents who lived in public housing, Cardona was the first in his family to attend college and began his career as a fourth-grade teacher. At the age of 28, he became the state’s youngest principal and served as assistant superintendent of Meriden schools prior to being named statewide commissioner last year, the Post reported.

Sources close to the discussions told both the Post and The New York Times that a formal announcement of Cardona’s nomination is expected as early as Tuesday night.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Cardona’s appointment would fulfill election promises Biden made to select a diverse Cabinet and choose a public-school educator as education chief, the Times reported.

“Miguel Cardona is not just a proud product of public schools—he’s made strengthening public education and fighting for equity his life’s work,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also endorsed Cardona in recent days.

“We are hopeful that, as Secretary of Education, Dr. Cardona will continue to bring new ideas and diverse perspectives to the table to address the longstanding opportunity gaps that have now been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shavar Jeffries, president of Democrats for Education Reform, said in a prepared statement obtained by the Post.