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

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.”