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Biden's new education secretary will divide students and curriculum along racial lines

Biden's pick for Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona is an example of an educator who focuses more on skin color and ethnicity than education or equality.
Libby Emmons
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Biden's pick for Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona is an example of an educator who focuses more on skin color and ethnicity than education or equality.

It's not only that race is the top driver in hiring for the Biden administrationit's that their governing methods and goals will be fixated on race as well. Nowhere is that more evident than in the credentials of those being nominated for Cabinet positions, and nowhere is it more dangerous that in the newly nominated Secretary of Education.

For Cardona, the most important thing is to eliminate achievement gaps between racial and ethnic groups and to instill race-based curriculum. His most recent achievement in this area in the state of Connecticut was to require all high schools to offer courses in race-based history, including African American, black, Latino, and Puerto Rican studies.

These course will cover those historical movements and accomplishments, as well as struggles and intersectionality, and it will do so by dividing people along racial and ethnic lines, lumping those individuals into those arbitrary groups, and assessing group, as opposed to individual, achievement.

This proposal was unanimously voted in by the Board of Education in Cardona's home state. These will begin as electives, but Cardona hopes they will become required.

"Let's not forget the connection between kids wanting to be in school and kids attending school," Cardona said. "And when we see that our attendance rate with Black and Latino students is worse, when we see that our achievement outcomes or academic outcomes are disparate in Connecticut, we have to take real action." For Cardona, that "real action" is catering a curriculum to appeal to the tribal sensibilities of teenagers.

In his doctoral thesis in 2011, "Sharpening the Focus of Political Will to Address Achievement Disparities," he explains that the most important thing to eliminating disparities is leaders having the political will to do it.

Cardona states that the theoretical framework for his project is that "the disparities in achievement patterns between subgroups of students could be addressed if school, leaders and policymakers applied their political will to reduce the achievement gap with a sharper focus in four areas: (1) providing instructional leadership that builds the capacity of teachers to enhance the learning of all students effectively, (2) supporting effective professional learning opportunities for teachers, (3) effectively implementing key reform policies that provide equity for students, and (4) advancing principles of social justice leadership to create equitable outcomes for all students."

Two things are clear from this assessment: First, that the most important thing for Cardona is to increase academic achievement of racial groups by finding group-based solutions, and second that the way to fix the disparities between groups is to indoctrinate teachers and politicians in social justice theory.

This concept will be front and center in White House educational policy. Under Cardona's leadership, educators and students can expect to be treated to racist ideas under the guise of anti-racism all in service to equity between groups. The desired outcome is the equalization of group achievement. But even if that is a worthwhile goal, there's not any reason to believe that social justice indoctrination is how to get us there.

Cardona's feeling is that it is policy that has stood in the way of closing these achievement gaps. He wrote "the ineffectiveness of major reform efforts in education in the US and abroad has been linked to the educational leaders involved having diffuse political will that was not sharply focussed on addressing educational inequities."

He said that the reasons behind the achievement gap for Hispanic students was the "lack of programming rigor and educational opportunities," "teachers lower expectations [that] limit Hispanics opportunities to success," and the "diffuse political will on the part of educators and policy makers that is not sharply focussed on addressing the issues that contribute to and sustain the achievement gaps."

Cardona defined political will as "the determination of an individual or organization to challenge inequities through advocacy and activism aimed at changing the political and organizational structures that exist." He will undoubtedly not face a dearth of political will in the new administration.

Biden has said that he wants to encourage the reopening of American schools during his first 100 days in office, and Cardona will be instrumental in that effort. But what will that look like? As we've seen in New York, the closure of schools and their reopening has made space for progressive interests to achieve their pet aims under the guise of equity in education, while actually taking a turn for the worse.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has implemented a plan to do away with educational standards in order for kids who can't meet them to succeed. Although, taking away the means by which to measure success will mean that it will be difficult to tell if the plan works or is a total failure.

In his plan to reopen schools, Cardona will have to sort out how, with state officials, to reopen schools, and he will need to secure funding for the safety measures that Biden has said he wants, but in figuring out how to help kids get back to being actually educated, focussing on inequity may be less essential than making sure each kid, and not each racial and ethnic group, get what they need.

The prevalence of social justice indoctrination and critical race theory has done more to divide Americans than it has to bring racial or ethnic groups on par with one another. And pushing for racial equity as opposed to equal opportunity does not create a more fair playing field for economically disadvantaged students. Students do not achieve based on their groups, they achieve based on their individual drive, determination, and merit.

The Biden administration doesn't see it that way, they see group identity not only as a driving qualifier, but the primary means to determine a person's value for a given position. Cardona will use those same principles to further divide American students along racial and ethnic lines.

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