National PTA applauds the confirmation of Dr. Miguel Cardona as U.S. Secretary of Education. As a former public-school teacher, principal and assistant superintendent and the commissioner of education for the state of Connecticut, Dr. Cardona understands the challenges and opportunities facing our nation’s public-school students, families and educators, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight for racial justice and equity in our country.
During his confirmation hearing, Dr. Cardona vowed to take a collaborative approach to reopening schools for in-person instruction. National PTA has been calling for any decision to reopen schools to involve parents, families, students, educators, school employees, public health experts and community members in the planning, implementation and monitoring stages of reopening. Inclusive stakeholder engagement is essential for effective decision-making and successful implementation of school reopening plans, particularly engagement with parents and students to address unique family needs.
Dr. Cardona also vowed during his hearing to address the educational inequities exacerbated by the pandemic and forge opportunity out of crisis. This next phase of ‘returning to school’ is an important chance to ensure every child has every opportunity to reach their fullest potential, regardless of their zip code. The long-term success of our nation depends on all children having access to a high-quality education.
Further, during his hearing Dr. Cardona discussed how imperative it is to invest in public education. National PTA has long advocated for investments in public education and our association remains steadfast in our belief the public education must be strengthened with the support of adequate funding. Our public education system gives our children access to opportunities, experiences and knowledge—regardless of their race, religion, ability or socioeconomic status—that build the skills they need to succeed in the competitive global economy. Decades of underinvestment in education has created unsustainable situations in so many of our nation’s schools, shortchanging students. Investments must be made to ensure every public school has the proper resources to help every child learn, grow and succeed.
National PTA looks forward to informing Secretary Cardona on all of our association’s public policy priorities. We stand ready to work with Secretary Cardona and the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that every child has access to a fair, equitable and high-quality education. As Dr. Cardona said, ‘we gain strengthen from joining together,’ and together, we can make every child’s potential a reality.