Education Secretary Cardona Faces Backlash After Saying Parents are ‘Misbehaving in Public’

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Illustration by Midjourney.

In a recent interview discussing the state of U.S. education, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona made headlines by calling out parents he believes are “misbehaving in public” and then “acting like they know what’s right for kids.”

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His comments have sparked a wave of backlash on social media, with many interpreting his words as a direct insult to parents who have voiced their concerns at school board meetings nationwide.

Cardona’s remarks came in response to questions about his previous statements that public education is “under attack.”

He reflected on his long-standing career in education, stating, “I’ve been in education, you know, about 25 years… I’ve never seen it where it is now.”

He lamented what he called the lack of civility in public discourse, emphasizing that while he respects differing opinions, he has little respect for those who misbehave in public settings.

“There was civility. We could disagree. We could have healthy conversations around what’s best for kids,” he said. “I respect differences of opinion. I don’t have too much respect for people that are misbehaving in public and then acting as if they know what’s right for kids.”

The Education Secretary further criticized those who oppose financial support for students buried in debt, pointing out the hypocrisy of elected officials who accept significant loan forgiveness for themselves.

He boldly stated, “There is a team that is fighting for kids and a team that is fighting against kids.”

Nicole Neily, President of Parents Defending Education, swiftly responded to Cardona’s comments, accusing him of dismissing the concerns of thousands of American parents.

She highlighted the 2022 decision by Cardona’s Education Department to disband its ‘parents council’. She pointed to the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) controversial letter as evidence of Cardona’s lack of respect for diverse viewpoints.

The NSBA’s 2021 letter to President Biden, which labeled some parents’ actions at school board meetings as potential “domestic terrorism” under the PATRIOT Act, remains a contentious issue.

Following the letter, Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the FBI to form a task force addressing threats against school officials. However, the NSBA later apologized for the letter, assuring it would not take such actions in the future.

Cardona’s recent comments, set against the backdrop of ongoing debates over race-based admissions, student debt relief, and curriculum content, underscore the heightened tensions and polarized opinions surrounding U.S. education today.

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