DeVos Resigns (January 7, 2021)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned this evening (1/7/21), blaming President Donald Trump for rhetoric that fueled the rioting and subsequent vandalism and unlawful trespass of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

To read more from NBC news, click here.

CDC Recommends School Staff be Part of Next Phase of COVID-19 Vaccinations (December 30, 2020)

On December 22, 2020, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee recommended that teachers, other school support personnel, and child care workers be among the frontline essential workers identified for inclusion in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, alongside first responders, food and grocery store workers, postal employees, and other groups. According to the CDC, the Phase 1b group is expected to include an estimated 49 million people, according to the CDC. To view the committee recommendation, click here.

President-elect Biden Announces Dr. Miguel Cardona as Nominee for Secretary of Education (December 24, 2020)

On December 22, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, a former public school classroom teacher and the current Connecticut Education Commissioner, will be nominated to serve as the 12th Secretary of Education.

According top a press release, as states and school districts struggle to meet students’ needs due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Cardona will make getting students of all ages and in every community back in the classroom safely a national priority — working with Congress and local, state, and tribal leaders to secure the funding and strong public health measures needed towards safely reopening the majority of schools within the first 100 days of the new administration. He will also strive to eliminate long-standing inequities and close racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps — and expand access to community colleges, training, and public four-year colleges and universities to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class.

Dr. Cardona currently serves as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education — the first Latino to hold the position. He began his career educating and inspiring Connecticut’s youth as a fourth-grade teacher in Meriden’s public school system, the same school district he attended as a child. Dr. Cardona became the youngest school principal in the state at age 28, serving in the position for 10 years before taking on a role addressing the district’s performance and evaluation process and ultimately rising to the position of assistant superintendent. His leadership during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis helped make Connecticut the first state in the nation to ensure that every one of its public school students has a laptop and a high-speed internet connection to engage in remote learning — a key driver in preventing lost school time and closing persistent equity and opportunity gaps.

In addition to teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Leadership, Dr. Cardona served as the Co-Chairperson on the Connecticut Legislative Achievement Gap Task Force and the Connecticut Birth to Grade Three Leaders Council. Dr. Cardona earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University, and his masters in bilingual/bicultural education and his doctorate in education from the University of Connecticut.

To read more on Dr. Cardona, click here.

CDC expands local area health estimates to include data for the entire U.S. New PLACES (December 16, 2020)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the expansion of the 500 Cities Project, a 2016 initiative to provide city- and neighborhood-level health estimates for a large portion of the nation’s population. The project is being renamed PLACES, and now provides Population Level Analysis and Community Estimates to the entire United States to show the prevalence of chronic diseases and the health impacts on underserved communities.
Many Americans face health-related challenges like chronic respiratory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that put them at increased risk for severe illness from diseases such as COVID-19. The critical information in PLACES can help local and state health departments and community organizations decide where best to target resources to address these health challenges. PLACES data can be used to:

  • Inform target prevention activities, programs, and policies;
  • Identify emerging health problems and priority health risk behaviors;
  • Identify and understand geographic health-related issues;
  • Establish key health goals; and
  • Identify geographic disparities in health among and within communities to inform strategies that address health equity.

For more info on this topic from the CDC, please click here or go to: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p1209-places.html