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Straight Fs, second call for Education Secretary Cardona to resign

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Grades of F overall, and in each of five specific areas with active hot-button issues, were given by a North Carolina congresswoman chairing a committee hearing with Education Department Secretary Miguel Cardona.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., greeted him nicely, reminding him how she welcomed a leader of his qualifications when he was confirmed. Then, the chairwoman of the Committee on Education and Workforce in the U.S. House of Representatives, in roughly eight minutes, gave description of ineptitude and failing for both K-12 and post-secondary education.

For the second time in 92 days, Foxx said it’s time for Cardona to resign.

“On all the broad strokes, you have a failing grade,” Foxx said in Tuesday’s hearing. “But there are plenty of other specific issues to discuss today. The department has failed to protect young women with its Title IX rewrite, failed to return employees to the office to work in person, and failed to pass its 2023 financial audit.

“I see each of these failures as a result of the original failure – that the federal government inserted itself into education in the first place. There are good reasons why the word education does not appear in the Constitution. Education is done best when it is handled at the local level. The solution is not more of the same, which is what the president’s budget represents, but less of what has sidetracked our country’s educational system – the Department of Education itself.

“As President Ronald Reagan once famously said, ‘The nine most terrifying words of the English language are, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”

Cardona said his purpose in appearance was the budget.

“It’s not to create a spectacle for the benefit of the media or to promote divisions that inflame culture wars and political sideshows that do nothing to help our young people succeed,” he said.

Foxx’s “Committee Report Card” posted to social media gave Cardona an F overall. It also had five categories each getting an F – combatting antisemitism on college campuses, using taxpayer dollars legally/appropriately, FAFSA rollout, protecting women and girls, and complying with congressional oversight.

Regarding Title IX, Cardona said, “Federal rules trump state rules and it’s unacceptable for leaders to pick and choose which students they choose to protect.”

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form completed to determine eligibility for student financial aid.

On colleges, Foxx said, “Over the past seven months, colleges across the nation have seen an unprecedented regression in moral and institutional legitimacy as antisemitism and pro-Hamas protests have engulfed campuses. From the beginning, I’ve urged a firm hand in dealing with the explosion of antisemitism on campus and I’ve led by example.

“You, on the other hand, refused even to say that the ‘from the river to the sea’ chant is antisemitic. I see this as a failure of moral clarity deeming you unfit for public office and called for your resignation in February. With the outbreak of campus riots, I’m only more resolute, so I will say it again. You must resign.”

Foxx said Cardona’s department, despite warnings, managed “to bungle” both the rollout of FAFSA simplification and the student loan return to repayment. For FAFSA, Congress granted an extra year and the rollout still came late. The Dec. 30 soft launch, on top of that, was filled with glitches, she said.

“A financial aid administrators of schools survey just last week found that over 30% of schools have still not even begun to package aid offers thanks to your delay,” Foxx said. “The delays and uncertainty have crushed students and universities. FAFSA completion rates have fallen 30% nationally, with declines likely higher among low-income students. Universities are expecting decreases in enrollment in the fall that could be even worse than during the pandemic.

“Attending college is one of the most consequential choices that some may ever make. For some students with very limited means, who depend on the FAFSA, that choice has been denied to them. Some will inevitably put education on the back burner for life. That is what troubles me the most about this. May 1 should have been college decision day. But instead, students are still stuck waiting for financial information paralyzed by your ineptitude.”