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Connecticut News

Connecticut Son Miguel Cardona To Kick Off Education Secretary Position With Visit Home

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 3.
Susan Walsh
/
Associated Press
Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 3..

Connecticut public school advocates say newly sworn-in U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will champion public school education.

Cardona grew up in Meriden, Connecticut. He attended public schools there and returned to teach in the city’s school system. He rose to be an assistant superintendent of schools before Governor Ned Lamont appointed him to be state education commissioner in 2019.

Mark Benigni is the superintendent of schools in Meriden. He said Cardona is not just a product of public schools, he is also an advocate of the system.

“We are going to have someone representing education for this nation that believes in public schools and knows that public education can be the great equalizer for our student and our families,” Benigni said.

Jamilah Prince-Stewart heads FaithActs for Education, a group that advocates educational equity for Connecticut’s underserved Black and Latino communities. She said Cardona has a huge challenge in Washington.

“Not only is he dealing with these generational and very deep inequities that have sustained over long periods of time even 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, but now on top of that he has to deal with a pandemic that has ravaged our already under resourced communities,” Prince-Stewart said.

Benigni and Prince-Stewart said they believe Cardona's visit to an elementary school in his home town of Meriden with First Lady Jill Biden is a good start.

Cardona’s two children attend Meriden public schools.

Lamont said he is pleased that Jill Biden has chosen a visit to an elementary school in Meriden Wednesday to promote the Biden administration’s policy to reopen schools.

“Dr. Biden really wanted to come. And our freshly minted Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will not have to travel far to be there as well. And she’s particularly proud I think of the fact that she wanted to come to Connecticut because our schools are more likely to be open,” Lamont said.