President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate Miguel Cardona, Connecticut's commissioner of public schools, as education secretary, The Washington Post reports, adding that the announcement could be made before Christmas on Friday. Cardona was named to his current position just last year, and before that he was assistant superintendent in Meriden, Connecticut, a district with about 9,000 students. He was born in Meriden to Puerto Rican parents, and he became Connecticut's youngest principal when he was only 28.
Biden has not made a final offer, the Post reports, citing people close to the president-elect, but he met virtually with Cardona on Monday, alone with future first lady Jill Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Biden has pledged to pick someone with a background in public education to the Education Department, and Cardona is seen as more of a consensus candidate than Biden's other rumored finalist, Howard University's Leslie Fenwick, who is a sharp critic of testing-based accountability and other business-style education policies.
"Cardona's experience in public education represents a sharp contrast with President Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, who attended private schools and spent much of her energy advocating for alternatives to public education," the Post notes. "And while Cardona has lived in poverty, DeVos is a billionaire who has been wealthy all her life." Cardona butted heads a bit with teachers unions this fall when he pushed to open public schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been endorsed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called him as a "very, very solid" candidate.