Modeling Grace And Understanding

President-elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Education offers chance for broader reset in the conversation around schooling

With the dawn of 2021, there will be significant changes from 2020—but much will also stay the same in the immediate future.

Looking past some of our present challenges and turning to that future, President-elect Biden has said that he will nominate Connecticut Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona to be secretary of education.

In our latest Class Disrupted podcast, Diane and I reflect on whether Cardona fulfills the important objectives for a new secretary that we laid out in a previous episode.

Although we both raise questions and concerns, we also think that signs suggest he may be a good listener—which is what we could use right now all around. Granting Cardona a true honeymoon period—something that hasn’t been given to elected officials and appointees from both parties over the last several years—is important. Understanding and actively listening to people’s priorities before we seek to be understood is something the entire nation could benefit from doing, we argue.

We also tackle the question of vaccinations for teachers and what will it mean for schools. Listen here.

What lies in store for ’21

What’s ahead for 2021 in higher education is the topic of my latest piece for EdSurge, in which I interviewed several college presidents and corporate learning leaders.

Lest 2020 be forgot and never brought to mind—a hope more than a few of us hold—I argue that three existing positive trends that accelerated during the pandemic will continue in 2021:

1)     Prepare for more people to work and learn remotely with technology.

2)    Disruptive educational offerings will reign supreme.

3)    The breaking of the false dichotomy between short-term credentials and full degrees.

Check out the piece here.

Plus, on our Future U podcast, Jeff Selingo and I chatted with higher education reporters Melissa Korn of the Wall Street Journal and Kirk Carapezza of GBH radio to learn what stories are on their radar for 2021. We tackled everything from the impact of the pandemic on large segments of students to what colleges are actually doing—not just saying—in the aftermath of America’s racial reckoning. And there was even a lightbulb joke about faculty members. Listen here.

In the wake of Secretary Betsy Devos’s resignation in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Melissa and Kirk also offered their thoughts on her legacy—a topic I also opined on for the Christian Science Monitor, which you can read here at “As Devos Exits, Where Does Education Go Next?

As always, thanks for reading, writing, and listening.