Washington, D.C., (January 4, 2021)—Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the Aurora Institute, issued the following statement on the nomination of Dr. Miguel A. Cardona as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education:
“The Aurora Institute congratulates Dr. Miguel A. Cardona on his historic nomination to serve as the next Secretary of Education. Dr. Cardona has a distinguished history as a strong advocate for educational equity, and his professional and personal commitment to the future success of all children makes us optimistic for the road ahead. We pledge our best efforts to support the incoming administration in what will inevitably be a challenging year of re-opening and recovery, restoring hope, expanding opportunity, and transforming education.”
Dr. Cardona currently serves as the Education Commissioner in Connecticut, where he has led the state’s successful reopening of schools, while narrowing a stark digital divide in service to reducing learning loss among students living in low-income households. Dr. Cardona is a former public school teacher, Principal of the Year, and assistant superintendent, as well as a first-generation college graduate.
The next Secretary of Education will be tasked not only with bringing the nation’s elementary, secondary, and higher education systems back from the pandemic’s disruption and resolving the considerable damage, but also with boosting federal funding for schools and enabling conditions for public schools to thrive by producing students equipped for “the economy of the future,” as President-elect Joe Biden noted. This work includes addressing systemic inequities and modernizing and diversifying the educator workforce.
Because of his lifetime commitment to education and his depth of experience for leading through the kinds of change we need, the Aurora Institute is pleased with Dr. Cardona’s nomination. We look forward to collaborating with the new administration to create a vision of what’s possible with K-12 education. The monumental work required to help school systems rebound from the pandemic, as well as the high-stakes political processes through which this work will be accomplished, means the next Secretary will face the most urgent crises our education system has faced in many decades. We urge Dr. Cardona and other members of the Biden Administration to consider a holistic, student-centric approach on our road to recovery, one that increases access to quality teacher preparation programs, diversifies the teacher workforce, fosters balanced systems of assessments, invests in college preparation programs, and frees states from burdensome rules that prevent them from establishing future-focused, anytime, anywhere learning experiences.
Education is at a critical juncture. With unprecedented local and state revenue shortfalls, widening racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps, an ever-pressing digital divide, and a massive racial awakening spurred by the ongoing murders of innocent Black people, the time is evergreen to implement lasting changes to the methods with which we educate and serve our nation’s learners. It is our belief that high-quality design and implementation of student-centered policies are effective approaches to support the racial and social justice outcomes that President-elect Biden has committed to achieving.
Our goal, which we believe Dr. Cardona and President-elect Biden share, is to help states and localities administer a transcendent education system that prepares all graduates with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to achieve success and advance our society. It will take strong leadership, such as that already exhibited by Dr. Cardona in Connecticut, to make this happen.
The Aurora Institute stands ready to support the federal ecosystem that administers the programs and services needed for all students and communities to prosper.
For comment, contact:
Fred A. Jones, Jr., Policy Director
Aurora’s mission is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Aurora is shaping the future of teaching and learning for more than 14 million students through its work in policy advocacy, research, and field-building/convening. We work on systems change in K-12 education, promote best practices, examine policy barriers, and make recommendations for change. Aurora has a national and global view of education innovation and lifts up promising policies and practices that yield improved outcomes for students. Aurora envisions a world where all people are empowered to attain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to achieve success, contribute to their communities, and advance society.