At the beginning of February, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona spoke with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to discuss various issues regarding the U.S. education system. During this meeting, he was responsible for answering questions from various senators, including ones from Washington, D.C., ranging from transgender athletes to standardized testing requirements.
Authorizing transgender athletes
One of the most controversial topics up for discussion was the treatment of transgender athletes. As he fielded many questions from Senator Ron Paul, Cardona was confirming his acceptance of authorizing transgender athletes to compete in school sports teams that match their gender identity. He referred to his decision as support for the civil rights of all students.
Unclear decision about standardized testing
Prior to the confirmation hearing, many senators were unsure of what Cardona’s stance was regarding standardized testing. Standardized testing was canceled in 2020, and many senators are calling for another cancellation for 2021.
Cardona commented that it may need to vary depending on the specific school situation. He wants to ensure there is some understanding of how students are performing academically so that he can work on properly allocating funds to districts in need.
Vaccine requirements for teachers
Some schools have made their own stance regarding vaccine requirements for staff members. At the confirmation hearing, Cardona touched on the subject of reopening schools. He didn’t give any strict guidelines as the debate over whether making teachers get a vaccine conforms to employment law is still ongoing.
There were many educational topics discussed at the confirmation hearing for soon-to-be Educational Secretary Miguel Cardona. While he did make some of his intentions clear, other measures are still up for debate and could affect teachers and other staff members employed by schools.