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Media Should Stop Giving Secretary of Education Cardona a Free Pass

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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29 Comments
President Joe Biden, joined by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, delivers remarks about student loan forgiveness, Wednesday, August 24, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

On Monday, US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona beclowned himself. While touting his Department’s lackluster record to the Western Governors’ Association, Cardona mused, “I think it was President Reagan who said, ‘We’re from the government. We’re here to help.’”

Of course, Reagan’s actual quote was, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Reagan’s point was that Washington can be so inept “that instead of helping, it often causes harm.”

It doesn’t really matter whether Cardona is historically illiterate or intent on trolling the Republican governors in his audience. Either way, this was the US Secretary of Education trying to score a political point by misquoting an iconic Republican president so as to invert his plain meaning. This would be like Ted Cruz saying, “I think it was Barack Obama who said, ‘You didn’t build that bridge . . . so you shouldn’t get to use it.’” Or, “I think it was FDR who said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear of school choice.’”

Given that Cardona has presided over historically awful US history and civics performance on the “nation’s report card,” one might think his televised, politicized exercise in historical fiction would be seen as troubling (whether intentional or no). And yet his remarks went unnoted by The Washington PostNew York Times, NPR, and Education Week.

The double-standard is striking. Just a few years ago, when Betsy DeVos was Secretary of Education, the smallest of missteps (real or imagined) yielded overwrought coverage at these same outlets. Asked about gun control at her confirmation hearing, DeVos’s assertion that gun-related issues were very different in rural schools and urban centers gave rise to endless media mockery about “grizzly bears.” When she supervised a careful rule-making process that restored respect for civil liberties to Title IX campus enforcement, the coverage read like a progressive talking points memo. Just imagine if DeVos had misquoted FDR or Obama to make a point.

The kind of disparity isn’t just anecdotal, it’s systematic. An analysis of major newspaper coverage of DeVos and Cardona’s first 100 days showed that DeVos attracted much more coverage (and much more negative coverage) than Cardona, even though he was calling for hundreds of billions in emergency aid for shuttered schools and colleges while DeVos was still staffing up.

When President Biden nominated Cardona for Secretary of Education, I urged extending Cardona the benefit of the doubt that was never granted to DeVos. I wrote:

Cardona seems like a good guy and a committed educator. Quite appropriately, he’s met with a genial, respectful reception (pretty much the opposite of the one accorded Betsy DeVos, who was subjected to blistering attacks before she’d said a word). Now, a churlish observer might ask whether Cardona, with a background as an assistant superintendent in a small system and with a short tenure running a small state bureaucracy, has the management experience to run the U.S. Department of Education. . . . Indeed, relying on the DeVos standard, a churlish observer might ask whether Cardona ought to be held responsible for the abysmal performance of Connecticut’s urban school systems (true, he’s only been state chief for a year and change, which makes it ridiculous to blame him for New Haven’s longtime struggles; but DeVos never held a position of authority in Michigan and yet was routinely faulted for the troubled plight of Detroit’s schools).

Well, it’s now time to be churlish. While in office, Cardona has aggressively carried the water for the administration’s unconstitutional $500 billion student loan “forgiveness” scheme, approached that same scheme in a shambolic manner that the Government Accounting Office found rife with possibilities for fraud, been notably quiescent as $200 billion in federal pandemic aid failed to deliver any obvious benefits, mounted an assault on charter schools, mutely watched as chronic absenteeism has skyrocketed, and repeatedly stonewalled Congressional efforts to provide appropriate oversight.

Yet, Cardona has received little scrutiny for any of this. Indeed, what little coverage there’s been has mostly featured the occasional puff piece (as with POLITICO’s recent entry, “Cardona wants a second term of his own.”) Selective coverage and slanted accounts have helped poison the national discourse and sow well-deserved distrust of journalists and journalism.

After all, I think it was Cardona who said, “They’re from the legacy media. They’re here to help me.”

Frederick M. Hess is a senior fellow and the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on K–12 and higher education issues.

Reprinted with Permission from AEI.org – By Frederick M. Hess

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David Millikan
David Millikan
2 months ago

The Fascist liberal media pushes censorship against Americans but protects their communist buddies. The Fascist liberals even have the U.N. working on censorship for all online conversations that meet their communist standards. The U.N. has ZERO authority over the United States 1st Amendment and the U.S. Constitution, nor do the corrupt judges on the Fake indictments against President Trump have any authority against the FREEDOM of SPEECH.
Not even Jack Smith who obtained an unconstitutional warrant against former Twitter to get EVERY Americans information from IP address to your passwords or whether you muted or deleted any conversation with President Trump
Twitter account. Total violation of Americans privacy and Constitutional rights.
The Fascist liberal media doesn’t report any of this.

MK McMillion
MK McMillion
2 months ago

Let’s start with his boss by impeaching the son-of-a-b*tch.

Melinda
Melinda
2 months ago

The education system has been on a fast downhill slide since the 70s. I was a teacher in the 90s and disagreed with a lot of government directives (NCLB, Common Core, etc.). The slide started in the 70s when the Dept.of Ed. was established. The feds should get out and let locals handle it.

Frances
Frances
2 months ago

There should be no federal secretary of education to start with. Education is NOT one of the enumerated rights granted to the federal govt, so that makes education a states right and the federal govt. under the US Constitution have no right to have anything to do with education.

Dave
Dave
2 months ago

Reagan was certainly right. There’s no education in the Department of Education there’s only mandatory re-education trying to make every body Dumber and subservient. We are certainly in it above our waist. And there seems to be no way out. God please help us

Hdrydr
Hdrydr
2 months ago

His title should be, Secretary of INDOCTRINATION. Another Bribem appointee that isn’t worth jack squat.

Rich
Rich
2 months ago

This clown deserves to be in the socialist/democrat circus.

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

What education? We are at the bottom internationally in every subject despite the fact that per capita we spend the most money One room school would be enough for what this system produces

legally present
legally present
2 months ago

Remember how they treat the last Sec. of Education???l

Lawrence Greenberg
Lawrence Greenberg
2 months ago

“Media Should Stop Giving Secretary Of Education Cardona A Free Pass”
Just another low-IQ Affirmative Action appointee to the most corrupt, treasonous administration in our nation’s history.

rmk
rmk
2 months ago

Traitor Tricia Cotham is a really really really terrible person.

GMA
GMA
2 months ago

Education is of deep concern..the Teachers Union is a farce and should get anymore money…Hire competent teachers who teach correctly..the US school system is not up to par.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

At least he’s not a luggage-stealling S & M drag queen, right? Now THAT “guy” was a diversity hire!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Media is for Bad Education

Jackie
Jackie
2 months ago

The media is owned by liberals so, of course, they cover everything with that nasty, hateful, tolerant liberal attitude!! While they are drooling over themselves to cover anything that had to do with Trump that was bad, Democrats have stolen from the American people!!

Steve Colin Zeigler
Steve Colin Zeigler
2 months ago

The US Dept of education is fining one of the biggest and best Christian Universities 37 million dollars for going non-profit when AZ and even the IRS has said they did it right. It’s criminal. The university is fighting the fine. Grand Canyon University.

Glen
Glen
2 months ago

“The People” need to shut down his department and send him HOME!

Myrna
Myrna
2 months ago

Cardona is a waste of money but other appointees are so much worse and the teachers union leaders are so much more directly responsible for the failures of schools that he is nearly unnoticed.

Rick
Rick
2 months ago

This ass is supposed to be representing education and he acts like the Bafoon he is!! He is so misinformed it is pathetic!!He should resign before the law comes for him!!

Old Papa
Old Papa
2 months ago

The answer to this stupidity is shut down the Dept of Education and return control to the States.

Ira Z
Ira Z
2 months ago

The department of Education, I believe was founded and enacted by President Carter, need I say more!

It does need to go away, I am in education, leave it to the individual states to set policies, we would be better off!

President Trump, when re-elected has commented, he will do away with the cabinet position!

Great idea!

Ed BALDWIN
Ed BALDWIN
2 months ago

Media always gives the Nribden administration a pass on everything. No matter what

Chas C.
Chas C.
2 months ago

Just another member,of which there are many,of “The Biden Kakistocracy”!!!!

Jerry_M_Tx
Jerry_M_Tx
2 months ago

Federal department of education needs to be abolished.

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