Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced the nomination of Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America—the nation’s leading voice for child care—released the following statement:
Child Care Aware® of America is pleased to see Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona nominated to serve as U.S. Secretary of Education. Cardona has demonstrated a commitment to advancing an agenda that supports children from birth and even served as co-chairperson of the Connecticut Birth to Grade Three Leaders Council, according to his state biography. We couldn’t agree more with Cardona’s statement that, “For far too long, we’ve spent money on interventions and band aids to address disparities instead of laying a wide, strong foundation of quality, universal early childhood education, and quality social and emotional supports for all of our learners.” CCAoA looks forward to more closely examining his record and urge the Senate to quickly consider his nomination.
Child care and early learning sit at the nexus of the health, well-being, economic security, and education of communities. Child care prepares and positions children and families for opportunities and successful outcomes. One of the most important ways the incoming Biden-Harris Administration can prioritize child care is through its personnel decisions—appointing leaders who reflect the diversity of our country and who understand the importance of child care to our society as both a critical child development and early learning setting and as an economic engine for communities.
CCAoA expects the Secretary of Education to join us and the Secretary of Health and Human Services in support of our vision that every family in the United States has access to high-quality, affordable child care, and to demonstrate a commitment to equity in our child care and early learning systems and policy. This means working together to design and implement a comprehensive child care and early learning system, including preschool that complements and coordinates with programs caring for infants and toddlers and incorporates robust mixed-delivery options.
The U.S. Department of Education plays an important role in furthering child care and early learning. It administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which includes support for early intervention services for infants and toddlers and resources for public preschools to support children with disabilities. The Department of Education has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide Preschool Development Grants to states. Student parents look to the Department of Education as they pursue higher education and utilize the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. And, the child care and early learning workforce rely on the higher education opportunities the Department of Education supports.