'You pay now or you'll pay later:' Ed Sec Miguel Cardona on school inequity
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated years of inequalities in the U.S. education system.
US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona came to Yahoo Finance to discuss how to address student inequalities and the current state of American education, teacher recruitment, and education funding.
“What we are seeing now is that access to personal learning is not even. Black, brown and Asian students are less likely to experience face-to-face learning where we know the learning works best, ”Cardona said.
Cardona says President Biden's focus on education will go a long way toward raising morale within and across the U.S. educational system. Biden's budget proposal for fiscal 2022 sees a significant increase in education spending and includes $ 36.5 billion in formula grants for Title I schools. In addition, the president's infrastructure proposal also calls for education-related spending such as $ 100 billion to modernize and modernize US public school buildings.
The Department of Education plans to launch a virtual equity summit series on June 22nd to address these issues. The first part will focus on how students in underserved communities can access quality education that meets their needs.
“We have to make sure that we include those families that have been difficult for us to attract over the past year. We need to build trust that our schools are serving all students with their academic needs ... and make sure our staff feel supported and have the tools on hand to get their jobs done, ”Cardona said.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will attend a roundtable discussion at the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven in New Haven, Connecticut on March 26, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images)
Navigating the uncharted waters of a global pandemic has also severely affected the morale of U.S. teachers, Cardona said, noting that many professional teachers are struggling financially.
“It shouldn't take a pandemic to realize how great our educators are across the country. We need to make sure they have a seat at the table to talk about what the education redesign is like, ”he said.
“In 30 out of 50 states across the country, a mid-career teacher with a family of four qualifies for government assistance - that's unacceptable. And we need to make sure that we support our teachers in the classroom by offering them support, professional learning opportunities, professional advancement paths or different options for different career choices. But we also have to make sure we pay them a salary that allows them to take care of their families, where they don't have to work weekends to make ends meet. They deserve it and we have to give it to them. "
The Department of Education's Civil Rights Bureau released a report showing that performance between colored and white students costs the US economy hundreds of billions annually.
“You pay now or you pay later… It costs more to intervene when the damage has been done, or when the gaps have been created or enlarged. And I'll tell you right away, this pandemic has exacerbated the gaps, ”Cardona said. "The American Rescue Plan, the American Families Plan, and the American Jobs Plan are designed to stop the bleeding, remove inequalities, and provide programs so that we can close these gaps once and for all."
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.
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