Who Is Miguel Cardona?
Miguel Cardona was born on July 11, 1975 in Meriden, Connecticut to Puerto Rican parents. When entering Kindergarten, Cardona had some difficulty learning and communicating in English since his first language growing up was Spanish. He says that he remembers crying on that first day of school, never wanting to go back (Blad & Ujifasa, 2021). He grew up in a housing project in Meriden and was a part of the automotive studies program in his high school. His roots to his heritage have allowed him to give a voice to minority students, as he works to make access to education equitable for all. Cardona believes strongly in family and community, as well as in the potential for each child to be successful (Megan, 2020).
Cardona earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Central Connecticut State University in 1997 and Master’s of Science degree in bilingual and bicultural education from the University of Connecticut in 2001. In 2004, he completed the administrator preparation program and earned his Ed.D. and superintendent certificate from the University of Connecticut. His dissertation, Sharpening the Focus of Political Will to Address Achievement Disparities, focused on studying the gaps that exist between English-language learners and their peers. Cardona’s strive towards higher education and his study into educational inequality have helped qualify him to be elected the Secretary of Education in 2021.
Prior to his position as Secretary of Education, Cardona served as the Commissioner of Education in Connecticut. His approach to education focused on providing equal opportunities for students and staff surrounding the emergence of COVID-19 and distance learning. This included access to internet and social-emotional health courses for free. Cardona’s experience extends into the field of education, where he taught elementary school and served as a principal for the city of Meriden.
Miguel Cardona was chosen to be in President Joe Biden’s cabinet as the United States Secretary of Education. Sworn in on March 2, 2021, Cardona appeared in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, where he received a 64-33 vote. His role as the Secretary of Education is honored by President Biden’s statement,
“He will also strive to eliminate long-standing inequities and close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps — and expand access to community colleges, training, and public four-year colleges and universities to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class” (Biden/Murakami).
During his time working in the Biden Administration, Cardona plans to aid in the advancement of higher education. His plans include furthering the promise by President Biden on making community college free, enabling “college graduates to pursue careers in education and public service by expanding and simplifying the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs”, and taking charge over the crisis surrounding student debt (Murakami).
By Hannah Mangold and Viviana Cabrera