News Release

UnidosUS President and CEO: Cardona for Education Secretary ‘An Exciting and Exceptional Choice’

Experience as an English learner gives him unique perspective on Latino EL students

December 22, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to the appointment of Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona to lead President-elect Joe Biden’s Department of Education, Janet Murguía, president and CEO of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, issued the following statement:

"Connecticut Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is an exciting and exceptional choice for Secretary of Education. We salute the incoming Biden-Harris Administration for their stellar selection and strongly endorse his nomination.

"Cardona’s story is familiar to so many of us in the Latino community, rising from humble beginnings to a distinguished and acclaimed career in education. Cardona, whose grandparents came from Puerto Rico, grew up in public housing in his hometown of Meriden, Connecticut. He started school without knowing English but ended up becoming a teacher and later the youngest principal in the state of Connecticut where he was named state principal of the year in 2012. After serving as a superintendent of schools in Meriden, he was named Connecticut’s Secretary of Education in 2019.

“In that role, he has also worked tirelessly to close achievement gaps between students of color and their white peers, leading a taskforce that studied the issue in Connecticut. At a time when Latino students are struggling with remote learning and other issues caused by the pandemic, it is both necessary and reassuring to have someone with expertise on, and empathy for them, especially English learners, and an appreciation for what they bring to the classroom.”

“After four years of an education secretary who prioritized privatizing education, rolled back the civil rights of our students, and repeatedly assaulted DACA, we are excited that President-elect Biden has nominated an educator who knows, values, and has experienced the public school system, and who will prioritize investments to meet the needs of diverse teachers, students and families. Cardona’s nomination signals hope for students, families and educators across the country.”

UnidosUS has long advocated for greater diversity, inclusion and representation within all sectors of American society. And many of our organizations contributed to protecting and advancing the potency and power of the Latino vote throughout this year. As part of that advocacy, UnidosUS, along with sister Latino organizations Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Vota, MALDEF, NALEO, CHCI, LULAC, Latino Victory Fund and Voto Latino have launched Proyecto 20%, an initiative to make sure that at least 20 percent of new positions of the approximately 4,000 political and other jobs to be filled by a new president are held by Latinos. 

UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For more than 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger. For more information on UnidosUS, visit or follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Christopher Allbritton