U.S. Senate confirms Dr. Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s Education Commissioner Dr. Miguel Cardona was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Education on Monday. The Senate voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s pick 64 to 33.

In a speech in Congress leading up to the vote, Senator Chris Murphy (D) said of Dr. Cardona, “It’s been his work over the last year that I think caught the attention of educational policy leaders and advocates all across the country because Connecticut was one of the first states to reopen its schools…We did it through a consensus-building exercise that Commissioner Cardona led…He brought together students and parents, administrators, teachers, teachers unions for us to safely reopen our schools.

Dr. Cardona will be a key figure in President Biden’s effort to reopen the nation’s schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement following the vote, Governor Ned Lamont congratulated Dr. Cardona saying:

“This is an incredible moment for Connecticut, as someone who was educated in our public schools and went on to lead a successful teaching career in those very schools has been confirmed to be our nation’s top education advisor. I’m feeling bittersweet emotions today knowing that our administration is saying farewell to someone who has been a wonderful commissioner, but we’re also gaining an ally on the national stage. Miguel, his family, the Meriden public school system, and everyone at the State Department of Education should feel immense pride today. This is a remarkable opportunity for Miguel, and I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of Connecticut’s students as he transitions to this new role.”

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05), who has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year by President Barack Obama, said of Dr. Cardona’s confirmation, “I am incredibly grateful to see this Department led by an educator who will focus on students.”

She added, “A native of Connecticut’s Fifth District, who grew up in public housing as an English language learner before spending two decades working in a public school system, Dr. Cardona is the right person, at the right time for this job. In a time of unprecedented challenges for our nation’s education system, it is imperative that we re-examine the disparities that have been further exacerbated by this pandemic. I am ready to get to work with Secretary Cardona to further our shared mission, and deliver real results for our nation’s students, educators, and families.”

WATCH: Road to Secretary of Education: ‘As American as apple pie and rice and beans’ – Dr. Miguel Cardona

Last Thursday, Dr. Cardona cleared a procedural vote in the Senate 66 to 32.

Dr. Cardona, who has been a teacher and administrator in Meriden public schools for many years, was appointed Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education by Governor Ned Lamont in August of 2019.

He and first lady Jill Biden are set to visit Meriden on Wednesday.

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