The Connecticut Mirror Highlights Education Equity Lab’s New Pathways to College in Sec. Cardona’s Hometown Meriden

Last month, the Biden Administration took a historic step by confirming Miguel Cardona as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. Secretary Cardona enters the position with a distinguished track record as an educator, leader, and advocate for the students who are too often left behind by the systemic inequities in our education system.

He is also our former colleague in Meriden’s public schools. And our work together at the local level may help inform the practices and policies that help to transform public education at the national level.

Over the past decade, Meriden Public Schools — where Secretary Cardona served as assistant superintendent — has become a unique laboratory for new ideas that push the boundaries of what is possible in public education. And many of those ideas have paid off. In the last ten years, we’ve seen a 20 percent increase in students reading at or above grade level by third grade. Chronic absenteeism and suspensions have been reduced substantially, and our high school graduation rates have increased by more than 15 percent.

Perhaps most importantly of all, 95 percent of students in the district report that they feel a sense of belonging in Meriden Public Schools.

We’re proud of our progress, and appreciate the support of our board of education, though in many ways the work is only just beginning. But we’ve also had an opportunity to reflect on how we got here, and what we’ve learned along the way. How can these experiences support the new Secretary as he works to increase equity in schools across America?


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