Home > Uncategorized > Leslie Fenwick’s Hard Core Anti-Privatization Agenda Would be Better… but Miguel Cardona is the Best Secretary of Education We’ve Seen in the Past 20 Years!

Leslie Fenwick’s Hard Core Anti-Privatization Agenda Would be Better… but Miguel Cardona is the Best Secretary of Education We’ve Seen in the Past 20 Years!

December 24, 2020

Common Dreams Andrea Germanos fell prey to the “teachers union vs. students” meme in framing of President-elect Joe Biden’s pick of Miguel Cardona for Secretary of Education, but her conclusion is that unions are VERY happy with his nomination. She quoted the NEA President at the outset of her article:

“In these tough times,” said National Education Association (NEA) president Becky Pringle, “students, educators, and families face unprecedented challenges—from the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis to the systemic racism that has held back too many students for too long. We look forward to partnering with Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona in taking on these challenges together.”

…Contrasting Cardona with Trump, she said Cardona, if confirmed by the Senate, would “ensure that the federal government’s role in education is to ensure access and opportunity for every student,” defend their civil rights, and “work collaboratively to promote proven education models such as community schools and policies that provide whole student support.”

Ms. Germanos quote from an NPR report was also heartening:

Cardona talked about his background, his bilingual upbringing and said he was “American as apple pie and rice and beans.” His parents are from Puerto Rico and he is the third Latino candidate Biden put forward for a Cabinet post. He lived in public housing as a kid, arrived in kindergarten only speaking Spanish, and has long drawn on his personal experience to inform his approach to education policy, focusing on making schools more equitable, closing achievement gaps between students of color and their white peers, and improving teaching for English-language learners.

As Ms. Germanos noted, his experience is the polar opposite of his predecessor who never set foot in a public school and never had to cope with the challenges that many public school children face.

So Mr. Cardona supports equity of opportunity, has the support of the NEA and the AFT, and attended and worked in public K-12 schools, what’s not to like? He stands head and shoulders above DeVos, King, Duncan, Spellings, and any other appointee from the Bush administration… but… he isn’t nearly as strident in his opposition to charter schools and testing as Leslie Fenwick who was the other candidate Biden was giving serious consideration to, a candidate I championed in an earlier post. I was glad to see that Diane Ravitch shared my perspective on this, and especially glad to see that she was ultimately hopeful that Cardona would work out satisfactorily as a candidate, especially if he insists that testing be suspended this year. As Ms. Germanos reports, if the tests are given the results are predictable:

“The rich kids will have high scores, and the poor kids will have low scores. And the kids who have the least access through technology or in-person learning will have the lowest scores. So, there, I just saved hundreds of millions of dollars. We really don’t need to do these tests,”

Should Mr. Cardona take this action I am confident that after two years of no standardized tests when the federal laws for funding schools are brought up again the test-and-punish “reign of error” might come to an end.

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