Education Secretary Nominee Calls for Investment in Pandemic Recovery

Our nation’s educational challenges didn’t begin with the pandemic, but it has exacerbated inequities in our educational system. These inequities will endure, and they’ll prevent the potential of this country unless tackled head on. And it is so — it is, and so it’‘s our responsibility, and it would be my greatest privilege, if confirmed, to forge opportunity out of this crisis. Investing in public education changes lives. And it saves lives. I’ve seen it, and I’ve lived it. And I know our challenges ahead are problems that we can overcome together. As a saying in Spanish goes, “en la unión está la fuerza.” In unity, there is strength. We gain strength from joining together. And like our schools, we gain strength when we create a culture of community. And we’re in the middle of a pandemic and our learners — the social, emotional development — the needs of the counselors are greater. Many of our students have lost loved ones, have been through trauma in terms of their families losing their jobs. So much change has happened. We’re going to need more counselors in our schools. We’re going to need to make sure we have summer programming. We’re going to need to make sure we have extended day. If we really want to recover, we really need to invest now or we’re going to pay later. And I feel that the funds that are being discussed now are really to help us with a long-term recovery process, preventing layoffs, when we need more teachers, not less.