NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Monday marks the start of American Education Week – which by design offers different daily themes while honoring those who work in the country’s public schools.

Recent trends in the United States indicate there is a lot of area for improvement. The National Assessment of Education said the scores on the math exam are at their lowest since 1990; while reading scores are at their lowest since 2004.

United States Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona spoke about several topics concerning education.

Cardona, who is the former commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education said the country has normalized that we no longer lead the world in reading and math.

Cardona said there is a call to action to change that fact with the U.S. Department of Education’s Raise the Bar: Lead the World initiative.

“The focus needs to be on making sure literacy and numeracy are at high levels. That students have the mental health support that they need and that students have options when they graduate. Whether it’s career or college and that also making sure higher education’s more affordable, more accessible” Cardona said. “We want our students to graduate with options. Whether it’s a pathway into a high skill, high paying career, or into two-year schools, or four-year colleges that are more affordable and more accessible.”

Cardona also discussed the importance of families being involved with their children’s education. He stated that it makes a “world of difference” and that educators are only the “supporting cast,” as parents are their children’s primary and most influential teachers.