WASHINGTON D.C. (WTNH) — Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona is appearing before the Senate’s education committee on Wednesday for a hearing on his nomination to serve as the next U.S. education secretary under President Joe Biden.
The 45-year-old must still be approved.
His top priority will be helping the Biden administration meet its goal of re-opening a majority of the nation’s elementary and middle schools for in-person learning in the first 100 days of his administration.
Cardona has been Connecticut’s education commissioner for a little over a year. Many question if his youth and inexperience could be a problem.
Senator Chris Murphy doesn’t think so. He and Senator Richard Blumenthal went to bat for Cardona in Wednesday’s hearing.
Murphy, who is on the education committee, put out a statement saying that if anyone is up to the job of tackling the issues of education in a pandemic, it’s his friend Miguel Cardona.
“Miguel Cardona keeps getting asked to do bigger things for a reason,” Murphy said. “He has a servent’s heart, an immovable moral compass, a refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer, and a unique talent for consensus-building.”
Blumenthal said of Dr. Cardona’s career, “His entire career is living proof that there are no limits to what anyone can achieve regardless of what their language is as a first language.”
More importantly, Cardona also has the full support of President Biden.
“Dr. Miguel Cardona, like other cabinet nominees and appointees, he’s brilliant, he’s qualified, and he’s tested,” Biden said.
Cardona’s story is an inspiration to many. A product of public schools himself. After his grandparents moved to Meriden from Puerto Rico, after college and multiple degrees, he returned to Meriden and taught elementary school students. From there he went on to become principal of Hanover Elementary and continued up the ladder to assistant superintendent.
In 2019, Cardona was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to the role of commissioner of education.
“It’s a huge source of pride not just for me being the commissioner but the journey of my parents and grandparents,” Cardona told News 8. “If you were to look on my desk you would see pictures of my grandparents who sacrificed a lot more than [I did] so that I could be commissioner of education in Connecticut.”
Governor Lamont hopes the committee and the US. Senate will move quickly to confirm Cardona and has joined a coalition of governors urging the Senate to support the nomination.
The committee chair says she expects Cardona will get a “swift and fair confirmation.”