If you assembled an education secretary to meet Joe Biden’s needs you’d probably come up with something approximating Miguel Cardona. He’s matched to the moment. That’s my take today in The 74:
Essentially, Cardona is a Biden offer of a detente in the education wars, and especially in the intra-Democratic education battles — at least, until some hard questions of policy emerge. It’s a deft pick. Particularly at a time when political fights should be secondary to an unfolding disaster for millions of American students.
President Obama in a recent interview:
Obama was questioned about possible signs of daylight between the two men on education policy in a recent interview with New York magazine. When asked whether Biden seemed intent on rolling back his “education-reform legacy,” Obama demurred, “Ah, we’ll see.”
It’s a weird construct. President Trump has already basically rolled back Obama’s ed legacy. And on issues like for-profit higher ed, Title IX, transgender students, and student discipline, for instance, Biden has said he wants to bring those policies back. That’s because, despite the perception she was a do-nothing secretary, Betsy DeVos was actually quite busy rolling back Obama-era policies. ESSA’s still the law of the land, for what that’s worth, and the Common Core improvements in standards are still there (despite all the posturing) but it’s Trump not Biden who is Obama’s legacy problem.
The obvious exception, and what Chait was getting at in the interview, is charter schools. That’s a party splitting issue for Democrats Biden will have to figure out a way through. And Obama’s legacy there is pretty good, even if reformers drew the wrong lesson from it.
Tracy Chapman O’Holy Night.