Miguel Cardona Confirmed as Secretary of Education

Publication Number 96 March 8, 2021

Senate Confirms Miguel Cardona as U.S. Secretary of Education

USDEOn March 1, 2021, the full U.S. Senate confirmed Miguel Cardona as U.S. Secretary of Education, by a bipartisan vote of 64-33.

Cardona is a former public school teacher. Since 2019, he served as Connecticut Commissioner of Education, the first Latino to hold that position.

The Biden Administration has announced the nominations of James Kvaal as Under Secretary (who will lead the U.S. Department of Education’s higher education policy) and Cynthia Marten as Deputy Secretary of Education. Both of these positions will require Senate confirmation; hearings on the appointments have not yet been scheduled. Michelle Asha Cooper has been appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Postsecondary Education, and will serve as the Acting Assistant Secretary. This position does not require Senate confirmation.

National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity Meets Virtually on
March 3-5, 2021

USDEThe National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) met virtually on March 3-5, 2021. NACIQI is the advisory body that provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education on recognition of accrediting organizations. Recognition by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) affirms that the standards and processes of accrediting organizations are compliant with USDE’s criteria.

At the NACIQI meeting, the committee recommendations included:

Renewal of accreditation for five years:
-The American Board of Funeral Service Education
-The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
-The Association of Institutions of Jewish Studies
-The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education
-The Midwifery Education Accreditation Council
-The Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education
-The National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences

Continuation of recognition, with a compliance report due in 12 months:
-The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation

The committee also recommended that the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools be denied continued recognition after a discussion spreading over two days that reviewed four staff reports on the accreditor. USDE’s Office of Inspector General also issued a report on the 2016 USDE recognition review of ACICS, which was considered as part of NACIQI’s deliberations. A link to the report can be found here.

NACIQI’s recommendations, which were consistent with recommendations in USDE staff reports, go to a senior USDE official, who makes the final decision on the recognition of the accrediting organizations being reviewed. A decision by the senior department official is made within 90 days of the NACIQI meeting. Decisions can be appealed by an accreditor to the Secretary of Education; a further appeal to the U.S. District Court is also possible.