Our Legislative Advocacy Advisor, Norm Sondheimer, watched the US Senate Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Education of Dr. Miguel Cardona, Connecticut's Commissioner of Education.  Read on to hear his observations and key quotes. 
Remember that Norm's passion is advocating for CS in our state - reach out to him to help at nksondheimer@gmail.com!
At his US Senate Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona brought up the value of computer science education on multiple occasions all of which were warmly received.  The complete hearing is available online.  https://www.c-span.org/video/?508484-1/education-secretary-nominee-miguel-cardona-testifies-confirmation-hearing&live

The most direct question came from Nevada’s Senator Jacky Rosen who has been a champion for computer science education. She brought up the new law that she sponsored to expand the National Science Foundation programs to increase the participation of girls in computer science.  She asked what the Department of Education could do to remove barriers keeping students of all ages and from all backgrounds from pursuing STEM careers and growing our teachers who are certified to teach STEM.     Here’s Dr. Cardona’s answer:
Thank you, Senator, for the question.  I agree that the fields of STEM are just growing. There is greater need. The better we can provide guidance and exemplars of where STEM courses and content is integrated into good quality core curriculum, the more likely we’re going to get all students to have access to it. I was fortunate to participate in different programs such as the Connecticut Girls Who Code program and be part of efforts to try to increase participation from girls in programs of STEM. It’s something that we need to do not only as an agency but as a country to really show that computer science is a part of so many of the jobs of today and tomorrow.  It’s really important that we make sure all of our students including our girls are getting into that field and have more exposure to it earlier. So, I think that’s a big part of everyone’s work and I look forward to working with you and others, if confirmed, to make that a reality.

Senator Rosen described her interests as STEM and CTE.  At least four other Senators brought up CTE which gave Dr. Cardona other chances to bring up computer science.  

Virginia’s Senator Tim Kane talked about the importance of CTE and asked for Dr. Cardona’s support.  Dr. Cardona agreed and pointed to all high-paying jobs that are going unfilled.   He used the opportunity to refer to what he described as a running joke in Connecticut that “welders who code, have it made.”

Wisconsin’s Senator Tammy Baldwin asked for support on strengthening CTE and asked how he would do that in high schools and community colleges.  Dr. Cardona made several points including the need to provide “opportunities for our middle and high school students to be exposed to the jobs of today and pathways that include maybe a two-year colleges, career and technical education, advanced manufacturing and computer science training.”