WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona as President Joe Biden's education secretary Monday.
Cardona, confirmed in a 64-33 vote, will oversee an Education Department that employs thousands and has an annual budget of more than $60 billion. He would also oversee the agency’s $1.5 trillion student loan portfolio.
He takes the helm of American schooling at a fraught time as many schools have kept their doors closed to in-person teaching as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Debates about reopening K-12 classrooms have pitted teachers, administrators, school boards and parents against each other. Colleges are bleeding money. Student debt is mounting. Learners are struggling to keep up with classes online.
Cardona, the commissioner of education in Connecticut, will lead Biden's push to reopen the majority of K-8 public schools in the first 100 days of his administration. The administration and congressional Democrats are pushing for $130 billion to help make it happen in the coronavirus relief package making its way through Congress.