Miguel Cardona, unlike Betsy DeVos, believes undocumented students “should get an education while they are here.”


Miguel Cardona, unlike Betsy DeVos, believes undocumented students “should get an education while they are here.”

Miguel Cardona began his career as a public school teacher, went on to become Connecticut’s Principal of the Year, and then became the state’s education commissioner before being appointed as the next Secretary of Education. He spoke with Washington Newsday about the problems that the American education system is facing as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

Newsday in Washington, DC: One of the lasting memories of the pandemic would be school closures, the way parents and students’ lives were upended, and the need to sort out remote learning and childcare. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has stated that she wants to see schools open five days a week for in-person instruction, and you have tweeted in support of her position. Can you tell the audience what your thoughts are on schools opening this fall?

What I retweeted or endorsed was the fact that many people believe teachers don’t want schools to open, which is completely false. Teachers want schools to reopen in a secure environment.

I had a meeting with the entire staff yesterday, and I told them about how we had to make a difficult decision in Connecticut last June and July. Since the pandemic was just two or three months old, we had to make a decision based on a small collection of data about transmission rates. We were researching flu transmission rates and how it spreads in order to make decisions about reopening schools.

Isn’t it true that I’m a father? Whatever decision I made at the time would have an effect on my children and my mom, who worked at the school. However, we decided, in collaboration with our health partners, that while there will still be a risk when you leave your house if we implement the prevention plan, we will reduce the risk by allowing them to attend school in person.

That was June 2020; now it’s May 2021. With all of the data we have—science and transmission rates—the president’s drive for vaccines, and what we know about COVID-19, I believe it is our responsibility to provide students with an in-person choice.

In June of last year, I. This is a condensed version of the information.


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