Biden picks Connecticut’s education chief Miguel Cardona to be education secretary

President-elect Joe Biden announced Wednesday that Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona is his nominee for secretary of education.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: The secretary of education we nominate is Dr. Miguel Cardona, a 4th grade public school teacher, the youngest principal in the state of Connecticut, first official Latino to serve as the education commissioner. I started to call him the secretary of education-- education commissioner. Dr. Cardona rose up the ranks to become an assistant superintendent in the same school district he attended as an English learner student, the same district where he was born in public housing, the son and grandson of parents and grandparents who moved from Puerto Rico in search of new opportunities.

He made it a point of taking new teachers on tours of his district's neighborhoods, the wealthy blocks where students grew up with every resource they needed to get ahead, and the block for families who are struggling to get by, where a new calculator or a nutritious breakfast weren't a given. He understands that the deep roots of inequity that exist as a source of our persistent opportunities gaps. He understands the transformative power that comes from investing in public education.

In our conversations, Dr. Cardona talked about how public education was the great equalizer. It gave him a chance to reach the dream his parents and grandparents had for him, a place where a high school teacher inspired him to be an educator. Public education would help Miguel become one of the first in his family to go to college, the first, the first to earn a doctorate.

And with that preparation and grounding, Dr. Cardona has brought his heart, his knowledge, and his passion for education to bear on behalf of the students across Connecticut. And when that pandemic struck, he was ready. He helped secure more than 140,000 laptops, more than 40,000 internet connections for students who lacked them. Because of him, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to ensure that every single public school student was equipped to engage remote learning, regardless of family income.

As the months passed, he followed health guidance, and he got the funding and the resources to provide masks, and plexiglass, and testing so schools could reopen and operate safely. That's the vision, resolve, and initiative that are all going to help us contain this pandemic and reopen our schools safely and build back better. And it's the standard of care that comes from having taught in a classroom, that comes from a hardworking family who found their way in America through public education.

It comes from someone who knows from his core that our nation's children are the kite strings that lift our national ambitions aloft. He is a secretary of education for this moment. I thank him and his family for accepting this call to serve. We cannot do this without them, or him.