From Diane Ravitch's blog:
President-Elect Joe Biden selected Dr. Miguel Cardona, Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, to be his administration’s Secretary of Education.
Diane copies the Washington Post article on the selection where they note that the Democrats for Education Reform types won because a progressive educator was not picked for the job.
Ravitch then opines:
So this much is clear. Biden rejected the progressive candidate, Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick. However, Dr. Cardona is not a Broadie, not a DFER favorite, not a member of Jeb Bush’s “Chiefs for Change.” All of this is good news. We know that these fake “reformers” lobbied hard for one of their own. They lost. That’s good news too.
Dr. Cardona has not taken a position on the major issues that define the major education policy battles of the past two decades. He has been critical of excessive testing, but does not oppose the use of standardized testing on principle. He has been critical of test-based evaluation of teachers (a major element of Race to the Top), because he knows that it doesn’t work.
I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic right now. From the Washington Post story that Ravitch cites, we also learn that one of Cardona and President-Elect Biden's major goals is to open school buildings as fast as possible. That could mean problems.
The Connecticut Education Association is optimistic. Here's part of their reaction to Cardona's selection:
“Cardona is a Connecticut public school educator who understands the federal role in increasing educational opportunities for all students, seeks teacher voices in collaborative efforts to help improve schools, and recognizes that highly qualified teachers are the greatest asset in public education,” says CEA President Jeff Leake.
“Throughout the pandemic he has worked closely with education stakeholders to address important issues facing our students, teachers, families, and communities and has ensured all students have access to technology for remote learning,” Leake adds. “He believes teachers need to have a seat at the table in order to develop well-informed education policy. He has always sought out diverse educator voices as experts and welcomed their experience and knowledge on many issues that impact educators and their students.”
Cardona worked alongside educators to address important concerns but many challenging issues remain unresolved. Last spring he waived the 180 school day requirement when the pandemic hit, worked hard to ensure graduating students received the recognition they deserved when schools were forced to close, secured a federal waiver from annual standardized testing, waived teacher evaluation requirements at the end of the last school year, and supported remote work options for teachers unable to teach in-person due to health conditions, quarantine, or childcare issues.
As commissioner, Cardona has brought diverse groups together and welcomed the continuing conversation and sharing of perspectives with education groups including CEA, AFT Connecticut, and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, while working to address the challenges facing public education in Connecticut.