Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stopped short of claiming that parents should be the “primary” stakeholders in their children’s education on Thursday.
Cardona sat before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Thursday to testify on school reopening strategies and policies around COVID-19. Under questioning from Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Cardona refused to call parents the “primary stakeholders” in a child’s education.
“Do you think parents should be in charge of their child’s education as the primary stakeholder?” Braun asked the Education secretary.
Cardona responded, “I believe parents are important stakeholders, but I also believe educators have a role in determining educational programming.”
“And I think that’s going to be a little out of focus,” Braun shot back. “What I think you’re going to find across all elements of education, since they pay the bills, they raise the kids, they probably need to be the primary spokespeople for their own kids’ good education.”
Cardona has drawn backlash from Republicans on several education-related issues since taking the post as the head of the Department of Education. In April, two GOP congressmen sent a letter to Cardona denouncing an Education Department grant program encouraging the use of Critical Race Theory in school curriculum.
“Critical Race Theory is antithetical to the fundamental values and beliefs of America and the American dream,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), one of the signees of the letter, told The Daily Wire at the time. “The 1619 Project is historically inaccurate, racially divisive, and argues that the entire American system is corrupted from top to bottom. Our schools obviously have a crucial role to play in helping make students aware of the negative consequences of slavery and the significant contributions of Black Americans. However, we should never prioritize educational grants for schools that promote attacks on the principles enshrined in our Constitution. I am grateful for the support of Congressman Duncan on this crucial issue.”
During his confirmation hearing in February, Cardona took heat from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) after the then-nominee stated that trans athletes should be allowed to compete in girls’ sports.
“I think that it’s critically important that the education system and educators respect the rights of all students, including students who are transgender, and that they are afforded the opportunities that every other student has to participate in extracurricular activities,” Cardona said at the time.
“I think it’s the legal responsibility of schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities, and this includes students who are transgender,” he continued.
Later in the hearing, Paul slammed Cardona, saying that allowing biological males to compete against girls is “bizarre.”
“A lot of us think that that’s bizarre, not very fair,” Paul said. “Frankly, some boy that’s six-foot-two competing against my five-foot-four niece doesn’t sound very fair. I think most people in the country think it’s bizarre.”