By Emily Gasoi, Vice President and Ward 1 Representative
On Friday, April, 30th I had the opportunity to hear our Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, speak during his visit to Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, which was his final stop on his ‘Help is Here’ School Reopening Tour.
Not surprisingly, Secretary Cardona’s talk focused on his quest to reopen our nation’s schools in the fall. But he opened with a personal story about a young child he met during his school visiting tour. This set the tone for a message about meeting broad national needs without losing sight of the fact that every school community is made up of the individual hopes, interests, and needs of its many stakeholders and that children must be centered in every effort toward reopening.
He talked about what he learned by visiting schools across the country that had made strides toward bringing the community back in person. He shared high level takeaways, including that he understood that a successful return in the fall would require funding that would allow schools to hire additional staff, make buildings safe, assess students and meet them where they are. Fortunately, he noted, “Help is on the way – lots of federal money is being delivered to schools” to make these efforts possible.
Another point that Secretary Cardona underscored was the importance of including the “voices of all stakeholders” in the conversation about what school should look like in the fall. He reiterated several times the need for “intentional collaboration” across stakeholder groups and that we must “keep equity at the center of all our decisions.” During his remarks, he acknowledged that teachers and principals have shouldered the lion’s share of the burden of educating students during this unprecedented school year. In his closing words, Secretary Cardona offered gratitude and summoned continued courage, asserting “the pandemic has only sharpened our swords to face the challenges ahead.”
If you’re interested, you can view his full remarks here: